COOPERSTOWN, NY-- The number of school resource officers has dropped in recent years from about 400 to fewer than 200 in the state, but there's an effort to bring armed officers into schools in Otsego County.
Otsego County Sheriff Richard Devlin Jr. submitted a proposal to the county's Public Safety and Legal Affairs Committee for the funding of two deputy sheriff positions, which would be designated as armed School Resource Officers.
According to chair of the committee, Edwin Frazier, R-Unadilla, one officer would be assigned to Otsego Northern Catskill Boces, and the other officer would rotate to schools around the district. It would cost $170,000, the county would responsible for half of the costs, about $85,000.
Devlin presented his proposal to the committee last month. He said the county works with all 23 buildings throughout the district to ensure safety, but he said more should be done.
"We're doing all we can in the schools, we have patrol safety walk-throughs, but again that's not a guarantee," he said. "So by having someone in the school, someone dedicated to the schools, will have us work with the school administrator help them with their safety plans, training and it will give us a better contact with students."
Devlin said the entire process could take 12 to 18 months to hire and train the officers. He hopes to have officers ready for fall of 2019.
The county's Public Safety and Legal Affairs Committee will review the proposal and determine whether or not it will move forward during the next meeting on May 2.