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Northwestern is putting the idea of creating its own police department on the back burner.

The school corporation had considered and explored the possibility this summer as a solution due to the lack of coverage from school resource officers (SROs) at dismissal time.

School resources officers at Northwestern are Howard County Sheriff’s deputies. It’s a side gig for officers who tend to work second shift.

The main issue was those second-shift officers had to leave around 3 p.m. This left the corporation without a police presence at the end of the school day. Director of operations Jeff Layden said in June there are instances when coverage is needed at that time.

This led Northwestern to explore creating its own police department, which would alleviate those issues.

However, after further discussion between the school district and sheriff’s department, superintendent Kristen Bilkey said coverage issues have been worked out. She said SROs are working together to make sure the 2:30 to 4 p.m. timeframe is covered daily.

“They love being out here,” Bilkey said. “They’re making it work.”

A school corporation police department was estimated to cost about $32,000 a year with upfront costs at about $180,000.

“It was an option if we couldn’t work it out,” Bilkey said.

Spencer Durham can be reached at 765-454-8598, by email at spencer.durham@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter at @Durham_KT.

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