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Local School Resource Officers trained to protect

By LEXIE O'CONNOR

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Following the Sandy Hook School Tragedy in Connecticut, local schools and law enforcement say they are equipped to deal with dangerous situations in schools.

"It brings to mind Columbine and the multiple shootings in Columbine and Utica City School District is proactive in keeping their children safe," said John Syrotynski, Coordinator of Safety and Security at Utica City Schools.

The Utica City Schools has over a dozen School Resource Officers (SROs), Syrotynski says after Yonkers, the largest amount in New York State.

The SROs are all Utica Police Officers and if not by them anyone who enters the school is still being watched.

"We have probably the largest amount of cameras surveillance equipment not even the jails have what we have," said Syrotynski.

And the security's not just in Utica, the Oneida County Sheriff's Department has 12 trained SROs in 11 of the county's districts.

"They are armed, in full uniform all have marked cars at school district buildings they're in always so that serves certainly as a deterrent just from having a marked car at the building," said Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol. "Our members often are consistently checking the buildings for potential security improvements that schools can make thats part of their routine."

Sheriff Maciol says with the School Resource Officers, they do as much as they possibly can in both training and equipment to intercept things before they occur.

"Obviously we don't have a crystal ball we can't predict someone's behavior, someone's extremely irrational behavior, none of us can predict such a tragedy as just happened in Connecticut this morning," said Edward Schmidt, Coordinator of Oneida County's School Resource Officer Coalition.

Utica School District says the single point of entry system is in all of their schools. The Oneida County Sheriffs Department recommends if a school does not have that system they put it in place.

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