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5 MORE POLICE OFFICERS REQUESTED TO HELP CUT CRIME IN PROVO SCHOOLS

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Finding support for a plan to place police officers in some Provo School District schools was the easy part at Tuesday's Provo City Council meeting. Finding the funds for the plan might prove to be a little more difficult.

Mayor George Stewart's proposed 1994-95 budget calls for increased funding to place nine more police officers on the streets. Most of the funding would come from a proposed 1 percent increase in the franchise tax.But Provo School District residents say they want five officers placed in their high schools and middle schools to fight growing violence, graffiti and overall crime that runs rampant in the halls. They also feel any crime problem in the schools is a city problem and should be funded and administered by the city.

Linda Lee Trotter said she feels it is only a matter of time before a tragic event occurs in the schools if police officers are not called on to monitor the halls soon.

The school crime problem is a community problem that the city is losing ground very quickly on, said Deloy Sallenback, chairman of Provo Youth Services.

"We urge the council to see that if there is a way to fund 14 officers that it be done."

Provo school officials say they could use the extra police help and will take what they can get.

"In the past we have had the police assigned by the city to the schools in the district, and this worked well," Kathleen Hughes, Provo District administrative assistant, said Thursday. "The residents are proposing more than that."

Council member Jim Daley estimated five new officers would cost the city an additional $214,000. The nine new officers proposed by the mayor would cost an additional $336,598.

Provo Police Chief Swen Nielsen said he feels if funding for five more officers is granted, they should be placed primarily on Provo streets. He said his police force is extremely undermanned and extra police officers are needed elsewhere.

"We have to worry about the basic backbone of police service in the city," Neilsen said. "When that is done, then we can talk about the other services."

Neilsen and Stewart said they believe police should remain separate from the school district. They said the district should hire its own officers and fund them itself.

But council member Karl Thalman said he feels policing by the school district would restrict the district's power in what action could be taken against juvenile lawbreakers.

Among the possible solutions presented by the council is a one-year test run funded by city money or putting the issue to a vote in a bond election.

The council will make a decision when it adopts a tentative budget June 21.