County Legislature urges state to fund school resource officers
ALBION – The Orleans County Legislature passed a formal resolution on Wednesday asking the State Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to approve funds to hire a school resource officer for every elementary and secondary school in the state.
“This would protect our most vital resource: our children,” said County Legislator Don Allport, R-Gaines.
The county’s resolution follows a push by the New York State Sheriffs’ Association to have a school resource officer in every school in the state. State Assemblyman Steve Hawley also supports the measure.
“We are, unfortunately, in an era where children in schools have too often become a target for evil persons wishing to cause mayhem and terror,” according to the County Legislature’s resolution. “Among the things that can be done quickly to increase the safety of our children and their schools is to provide an armed police presence in the schools.”
Hawley has urged Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie for $50,000 in state funding for each school in the state to hire an armed school resource officer.
There are about 4,750 public schools and nearly 2,000 private schools educating students in grades K through 12 in the state, according to the Sheriffs’ Association.
If the state approves the measure, it would cost $237.5 million to pay for 4,750 school resource officers at $50,000 a year for the public schools. Including 2,000 officers for private schools would cost another $100 million.
County legislators say the state is better able to fund the officers rather than the county which faces budget constraints, tax caps and limited sources of revenue.
“The current threat to the safety of our children in their schools is a public safety emergency requiring a statewide response by our state government, with its multiple revenue sources, to address this emergency,” the resolution states.