Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs Police Department hopes to have a new school resource officer in place at the high school by the fall to replace Josh Carrell, who has been promoted to detective.
“Josh is leaving some big shoes to be filled by our next school resource officer,” Police Chief Joel Rae said Tuesday.
Carrell, who has been the resource officer since December 2007, said he was looking forward to doing something different in the investigations department, which comprises three detectives. Carrell, a 1997 Steamboat Springs High School graduate, is replacing Jerry Stabile, who was promoted to captain of the patrol division. In related news, Stuart Hutton, an officer assigned to the All Crimes Enforcement Team drug task force, recently was promoted to detective to replace Nick Bosick, who plans to leave the department.
Rae said choosing the new resource officer would involve school administrators, students and officials at the police department. The intent would be to have the resource officer working at the high school full time during the school year.
That was not the case this school year, when Rae estimated Carrell spent about 20 percent of his time on resource officer duties and the rest as a patrol officer. Rae said Carrell’s responsibilities this school year shifted more to being a patrol officer because of a staffing shortage at the police department after six officers had left.
Funding for the resource officer has been an ongoing challenge, as well. With benefits, it cost about $83,000 annually to have the full-time resource officer.
During the 15 years the Steamboat Springs School District has had a resource officer working in the high school, the district has only twice split the cost with the city. In the 2008-09 and 2009-10 school years, the district paid $32,964 of Carrell’s salary but did not contribute the past two years because of budget reductions.
“We do not have an agreement in place at this time, and we’re paying for it,” Rae said.
He said the city again has formally asked the district to share the cost of the resource officer because Rae thinks it is important for the community.
As the resource officer, Carrell served as a mentor, counselor and friend to the 600 students at the high school. He also taught a leadership class, coached football and soccer and helped organize programs such as those to raise sex assault awareness.
“There are significant outreach opportunities,” Rae said.
Superintendent Brad Meeks said Tuesday that the long history of the resource officer position shows that it is valued by the school and the city.
“I don’t think that our lack of providing funds is any indication that we don’t value the position,” Meeks said.
Meeks said he would be meeting with school administrators this week to talk about next year’s budget, which needs to be set by the end of June. The Steamboat Springs School Board has a workshop Monday to discuss the budget.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com