Photo: A DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department SRO squad car, parked at Horn Lake High School. (Bob Bakken/desotocountynews.com)
It costs over $150,000 a year an officer to have sheriff’s department deputies serve as School Resource Officers (SRO), according to information provided by DeSoto County .
In the Fiscal Year 2024 budget, 30 SRO officers and three supervisors are listed. The average compensation for an SRO officer is $67,573 annually, according to the county. Insurance benefits are $9,309, retirement is $12,096 and Federal Insurance Compensation Act, or FICA, payments are $5,169. That equals a total salary average of $94,147.60. The compensation amount is a recurring annual expense, as each year the salary average will go up with any raises and increases in benefits and retirement.
The figures also are quoted for new officers, a yearly average that does not include the cost of new or replacement uniforms and equipment, fuel, training, and so on.
Added to that are items, such as vehicles, equipment, radio, vehicle equipment and decals, that in all total $67,926. The breakdown has a vehicle cost of $39,000, equipment of $7,926, radio at $8,200, and vehicle equipment and identifying decals that cost $12,800.
Chip in uniform and other equipment costing $6,130 and it all comes to a total of $168,202.60 as an average total cost of a new SRO per the Sheriff’s Department.
The figures come to light as Horn Lake aldermen recently voted not to contribute to the costs of the SRO program for five schools in the city, a total cost of $90,000, or an average $18,000 per officer. A split board voted against spending the money saying their belief that the school district is already funding the program.
The money request from the Board of Supervisors was to cover equipment expenses for the officers, which came to $15,000 for each deputy. The $90,000 total was requested for an added deputy at Horn Lake High School.
The Sheriff’s Department has deputies at five Horn Lake schools serving as SROs, law enforcement officials who work with the school district to create safer environments for children.
SROs are trained to perform three roles: law enforcement officer, law-related counselor, and law-related educator. They work closely with school administrators to create a safer environment.