APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – Appleton Police Chief Todd Thomas joined Local 5 and discussed multiple topics including the School Resource Officer (SRO) program and recruiting new officers.

Thomas said that Appleton’s School Resource Officer Program has been going on for over 40 years and is the longest program in the state. He also mentioned that there is an agreement with the Appleton School District to extend the program another five years.

One of the benefits of the program is how former students have thanked the officers for keeping them out of trouble.

School Resource Officer Program Supervisor Jack Taschner, who runs the program, says the program helps provide a mentorship moment. There are also multiple programs available to students designed to help them learn from negative decisions/situations.

The Appleton Police Department is still recruiting new hires, and Thomas says they have gotten applications from across the country. The department has a new recruitment video that Thomas says has brought in applications from a good mix of experienced officers and new ones.

Thomas talked about how the department has hired about a quarter of its officers in the last couple of years from other agencies. They are also able to hire in advance to help ease the transition when current officers retire.