The Kanabec County Sheriff’s Office has found a new, temporary way to fund the wages and benefits for a full-time school resource officer as well as start up a K-9 unit: The American Rescue Plan—Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds.

The American Rescue Plan, passed by congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11 was intended to speed recovery from the effects of the pandemic. Among other things, the ARP designates $350 billion for state and local governments to replace lost revenue and strengthen support for vital public services. 

Kanabec County received its first portion of these funds on June 1 and approved the funds be used for two major Sheriff’s Office projects. 

The first is funding the wages and benefits for a full-time school resource officer. School resource officers are part of a community-oriented policing strategy that focuses on building relationships within communities that prevents crime. Sheriff Brian Smith has previously praised the success of the Kanabec SRO program in Mora and Ogilvie school districts. 

Budget issues of the Family Collaborative initially cut the SRO position this summer. At this time, the KCSO doesn’t have staff to immediately put an SRO in schools, but Smith expected that to happen in January. 

Secondly, Sheriff Smith unveiled a plan to implement a K-9 program. Initial startup cost is approximately $32,000 with an annual recurring cost of approximately $2,500. 

The Kanabec County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the request on Sept. 7.

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