CANTON, N.Y. (WWNY) - A surge in placing armed police in schools may be ebbing. Budget and money concerns are leading to their withdrawal from some local schools.
You won’t see a police officer on the beat each day in Canton schools and maybe not in Massena. Both schools are currently without contracts for school resource officers.
“The timing couldn’t be worse. We’re looking for all hands on deck in September,” said Massena Central School District Superintendent Patrick Brady.
Some Massena village board members had concerns about liability. So, when the school’s contract with village police came up for renewal, they simply set it aside.
“The concern was the liability and it was an issue that came up last year when we started looking at this position,” said
Timmy Currier, Massena mayor.
Currier says he would have voted ‘yes.’ But he understands the concerns.
In Canton, it was the school district’s decision. They dropped the position. That disappoints police.
“I consider that a big blow to the department...It offered us many positives that we’re going to be losing,” said James Santimaw, Canton police chief.
Santimaw said the position built community trust. Canton school officials could not be reached Thursday.
In Ogdensburg, the status of the school resource officer also appears unsure. Mayor Mike Skelly said there seem to be less expensive ways to do it.
School districts have gone about hiring and funding their school resource officers in different ways.
Most partner with the local police department to oversee the officer. He wears their badge, uses their equipment. But under state law, school districts can hire, train and arm their own. Massena schools may consider that.
“We will look at our options now in light of the village’s position and we’ll go from there,” said Brady.
School superintendents at both Potsdam and Gouverneur schools on Thursday affirmed their school resource officers will remain on the job this coming school year.