Woodland Community Unit School District in rural Streator will be getting access to a part-time resource officer at the start of the next school year.
The Streator City Council approved an agreement with Woodland so the city can offer a school resource officer on a half-time basis to both Woodland and Streator Elementary District.
Streator Elementary had previously shared a resource officer with Streator High School, but the high school has decided to take on a resource officer on a full-time basis.
During Wednesday night's meeting, Mayor Jimmie Lansford reminded the council of events earlier in the day at Dixon High School where a resource officer stopped a gun-wielding student with a nonlife-threatening gunshot.
“If anybody had any questions with regards to how important this type of position is, what happened today in Dixon I think is a pretty good example,” Lansford said.
“Hopefully you never have to use them in that capacity,” he added.
Police Chief Kurt Pastirik said the department has reached out to Livingston County Sheriff Tony Childress, who has agreed to swear the officer in so the officer has authority on the school premises even though it is outside Streator Police Department’s jurisdiction.
Woodland Superintendent Ryan McGuckin confirmed the board unanimously approved the decision.
“It’s the first step towards maybe having one full time,” McGuckin said.
The officer will start at Woodland on Monday, Aug. 13, and McGuckin said he looks forward to using the officer in a “positive light” on campus as the officer will be able to walk the halls, meet students and have a presence in the classroom.
McGuckin said it’s also advantageous to have an officer on campus when response time for Livingston County to the school is around seven to 12 minutes.
“With being in the country it’s a little more difficult to get a police officer out here,” McGuckin said. “We’re the farthest north as far as Livingston County goes.”
In other business, the council approved:
• A request to the Illinois Department of Transportation to close the right lane and parking lane of South Bloomington Street from 116 S. Bloomington St. to the intersection of Main and Bloomington streets on Wednesday, June 27, from 8 p.m. to midnight during the city’s Walldogs celebration.áThe street will be closed with an arrow board and barricades to facilitate needs for a mural.
• A grant agreement with the State of Illinois Housing Development Authority Abandoned Properties program. The city has received funds from the grant before and, if approved, the money will be used to recoup expenses spent for demolitions last year.
• Fencing, a sign, landscaping and furniture for the city’s upcoming public safety training center.