Across Minnesota and the nation, police departments have had to cut school resource officer positions in recent years because of lagging budgets, but there are signs the position is on the rebound.
The Hopkins Police Department announced last week that it has started its first-ever school resource officer, working full-time in six schools.
"This is something we've needed for a long time," Sgt. Michael Glassberg said.
Officer Jessica Thomas is rotating between Hopkins School District's Alice Smith Elementary, Eisenhower Elementary and alternative program, and Off Campus Pavilion, as well as the Blake School, Mainstreet School of Performing Arts and Ubah Medical Academy. Minnetonka police cover Hopkins schools including Hopkins High in Minnetonka.
Glassberg said they'd like to add SROs in the future if they can get additional funding; this year's role is funded solely by police.
"If this program is a success, we're hoping we can expand it," he said. "It's well worth it."