Updated: Mar 10
MOUND CITY – Linn County Sheriff’s Deputy Klayton Parscale advocated for the School Resource Officer (SRO) with the Linn County Commissioners on Monday, Feb.14.
Parscale told the commissioners that he was there not only as a county employee but as a citizen of Linn County. As a former SRO at Jayhawk Elementary School, Parscale said he wanted to let the commissioners know how important the program is to the children.
“To possibly let the program fail because of money is not an option,” said Parscale. “I don’t know how to express that to you. I am not here to attack you guys or threaten or anything like that.”
Parscale requested that the commissioners hold a special meeting in the evening when parents and others could come to tell the commissioners their stories – the good, the bad and the ugly.
Commission Chair Jim Johnson said, “I don’t think you have ever heard us say that we are going to cut the program. Our deal was that the schools can ante up and pay part of it. They have dragged their feet on this long enough. I don’t think that we are asking too much from them, do you?”
Asking no, but now the county has gone past the point of asking and it is demanding, said Parscale.
Commissioner Rick James said, “Klayton, I can’t see that it is going to be a show stopper, I think that when it is all and said and done it will work itself out. But nobody’s here to cut the program tomorrow anyway.
“Even if the superintendents and us don’t agree, it’s not going to be shut off tomorrow. It would take a process even if that was to happen.”
Johnson said, “I think that what we are asking for is just a drop in the bucket. Let me put it this way, Klayton, I have had more people approach me that we did not ask for enough.”
James said he did not think this was the right time in the process for a meeting with parents and kids. Johnson agreed.
Commissioner Danny McCullough said he did not think any of the commissioners are against it.
“When I first got in, I went in and talked to the superintendents about it. To see everything that each school is doing and spending all this money,” said McCullough. “I went and talked to the superintendent, and there is no money.
“All of sudden they go out and buy $100,000 worth of stuff. It is sort of a slap in the face to me. That’s were I am at, I see everything happening. The safety of the kids is important.”
Parscale said the safety of the kids was a bonus. The relationships that are built on a daily basis versus more of a safety program that might happen once or twice a year. You can’t put a monetary value to the things that happen on a daily basis.
“You guys have talked to the superintendents, and that is great. But have you talked to the parents or the kids that these lives have actually touched?” asked Parscale.
James said that he thought that was important. That’s why there are school boards. They are elected officials and they are in charge of their schools.
“Have you talked to the school boards?” asked James. “That’s who I would talk to. They are the ones who have access to all the kids, they are the ones that have access to their budgets, they are the ones we are asking for the money from.”
Parscale said the county was not asking, they were demanding it. He asked what would happen if the demands were not met.
James said that was not a conversation the commissioners are going to have here right now.
McCullough said he thought it was crazy that the county let the program go on for seven years before anyone in the county, or anywhere, stepped up to assess the program.
Johnson asked if the people of Linn County got to choose whether they had the program or did they just get told they were going to have it and have to pay for it?
“So you are telling me this is a dead end,” asked Parscale.
Johnson said he felt comfortable with where the commission was now. It’s in the school boards’ hands, and they can decide what they are going to do.
I just want to caution you guys on the impact this could have, said Parscale.