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NYS Sheriff's Association Pushes For Armed Officers In Every School

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Sheriffs across New York State are calling on law makers to include funding for armed school resource officers (SRO) in the 2018 budget, following the Parkland, Florida high school shooting. Officers were eliminated from schools across the state following the 2009 budget crisis. In an announcement released on Thursday, the New York State Sheriff's Association is pushing for officers to be placed in every school across the state. That's more nearly 7,000 public and private schools. 

"I don't see anything wrong with it, I think it's a good idea. I think they should all be certified police officers that go in there," says Broome County Sheriff David Harder.

Harder says he would like to place more officers in local schools (there is currently one member of the Broome Sheriff's Office who serves as SRO to two districts), but the budget doesn't allow for it. 

In Broome County, some districts have worked out contracts with local law enforcement agencies, like the sheriff's office, to have an officer present during the school day.

Out of twelve districts, five have a full-time officer on duty, while two share that officer from the sheriff's office. Five districts don't have an SRO at all. 

Vestal School District has an officer contracted through the Vestal Police Department. In the below statement, the district says the SRO is mainly in the high school, but visits all the schools in the district and works for the full school day. 

Our current SRO is Officer Talbut, and he serves the district during the school day. He is mostly based at Vestal High School, but has a presence at all schools throughout the district regularly. Elementary schools have used him as a resource for Halloween Safety presentations. He also goes into computer classes at Vestal Middle School to talk to students about online safety, cyberbullying and smart digital practices. In the summers, he coordinates Vestal High School’s Youth Police Academy, which is open to all Vestal students in grades 8 – 12, with parental permission. This is a very successful program, with YPA cadets standing with Officer Talbut to present safety information to their peers during assemblies at the Vestal High School.

— Vestal Central School District

Windsor Central School District and BOCES both contract their officers through the District Attorney's Office. It's a partnership that was announced in September 2016. The officers are hired through the DA's office, but paid for by the districts. 

Union-Endicott has an Endicott Police Officer working full time in their schools and also employs a Safe Schools Coordinator in the district.

In addition, U-E employs a Safe Schools Coordinator, which is a competitive Civil Service position, to work district-wide on safety initiatives.  This individuals works with students, staff, and the community on safe school strategies and is in all of our buildings on a daily basis assessing various situations, making relationships, and building connections.  This person is not a police officer, but rather meets the civil service qualifications for the position, which include some security experience, a bachelor’s degree, and experience with safe schools programs. 

— Larry Dake, Assistant Superintendent Union-Endicott Central School District