UTICA, NY-- Next month hundreds of local students will be heading back to school, and now several schools in Oneida County will be armed with sheriff deputies to keeps those students safe.
The Oneida County Board of Legislators approved to pay $500,000 to bring special patrol officers into local school districts. The county will pay for half of the cost and the district will pay for the remaining half. The board also approved of a contract that will allow each district to join the initiative at any time.
The board approved of the creation of a new deputy sheriff patrol position. The new position will be in charge of overseeing the SPO's and existing special resource officers.
According to Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol, six to seven more school districts will have Special Patrol Officers this fall.
"We want to be right there so that we can stop the threat immediately, it's because at the end of the day... the only thing that's going to stop a bad guy with a good guy with gun," he said. "Our goal is to have them in every school, so hopefully as our school districts come on board with us, the others will see how effective this is and currently under the counties offered to pay for 50 percent of that they'll see how cost-effective it can also be."
There are some districts in Oneida County that have not signed up to bring officers into schools yet. But the sheriff wouldn't not discuss which schools are a part of this initiative. He said hopefully by 2019 all of the districts in the county will have these officers in the schools.