Deputy Josh Anderson of the Callaway County Sheriff’s Office just had his first day of school.

The military and law enforcement veteran was announced Wednesday as South Callaway R-2 school district’s new school resource officer.

“We believe Deputy Anderson is a great fit for the school district,” Callaway County Sheriff Clay Chism said. “He brings a lot of life and work experience and has a very strong desire to work with these students to better their educational experience.”

Anderson, 30, joined the sheriff’s office Feb. 1, after four years with the Cole County Sheriff’s Department and five years in the military. He is a certified police instructor, Chism said.

The sheriff’s office and school district administrators had input during the selection process, he added. The position is a newly created one and will not impact road patrol staffing numbers.

School officials and Callaway County commissioners signed a contract to place a full-time SRO at the school in March after more than a year of planning.

Under the contract’s terms, the district will cover 65 percent of the deputy’s salary and benefits, with the county paying for the remainder as well as training, equipment and other expenses. Anderson’s salary has been set at $35,000, with benefits bringing the total cost to about $51,000, Chism said.

Anderson will be assigned exclusively to the school district during the school year and will cover all of the campus’ buildings.

“We aren’t viewing this SRO as a glorified security guard,” Chism said. “We want him to be a part of the community, a part of the school district.”

In addition to providing security, Anderson will be part of programming, presentations and demonstrations in the school district.

The New Bloomfield R-3 school district also will receive an SRO this year. That person will be announced next week, Chism said.

“I’m also happy to announce that we’re in final stages of finalizing (a plan) for the North Callaway school district to receive an SRO in January 2019,” he added. “As the sheriff, I have a strong desire to have a law enforcement presence at the area schools.”

By Helen Wilburs | Fulton Sun