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Sherwood looks to fund more school resource officers

The distance between Newtown, Conn., and Sherwood may be 19 hours driving time, but discussions about the shootings there may have an impact on the 2013 Sherwood city budget.

On Monday, Sherwood City Council adopted next year’s budget. While several issues were discussed, the topic of Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre got into budget discussions.

Sherwood Alderman Charles Harmon said he wants to make sure the city budgets revenues for school resource officers.

“I want us to determine where we are on the budget in light of what happened in Newtown, Conn.,” Harmon said. “I want to see what we have not done in Sherwood. We have reduced the number of resource officers in our schools.”

Harmon said resource officer funds had been reduced because of budget concerns. However, due to the retention of North Little Rock Electric as an electric provider in Sherwood plus the expected annual influx of $770,000 in additional tax revenues due to state budget initiatives passing in November, the city needs to make sure city schools have necessary resource officers.

“We have a resource officer at Sylvan Hills Middle School but none at Northwood Middle,” Harmon said. “We need funds for that.”

Harmon added, “That (Newtown) struck me to the core especially when we have small children in the schools.”

Harmon said he believes it is the city’s responsibility to make sure school children are safe.

The council meeting began with Alderman Tim McMinn, who also the pastor of Sylvan Hills Community Church, to open the meeting with a pray for the people of Newtown.

“Our hearts go out to the parents, children, and teachers who were brutally murdered,” McMinn said.

McMinn said prayers need to be made also for police, fire and EMT personnel who have had to respond to the crime scene.

“It reminds us how fragile life is,” McMinn said. “We need to pray for our children, grandchildren, schools and teachers. What we do here pales in comparison.

McMinn spoke on behalf of the entire council during the first opening minutes on the Newtown massacre.

“My heart has been grieved all weekend,” McMinn said. “We have witnessed this many times but nothing like this. We pray for the families, the moms and the dads who will have to deal with this the rest of their lives.”

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