Ogdensburg lawmakers to decide Monday on hiring school resource officers

Published: May. 8, 2023 at 3:35 PM EDT
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OGDENSBURG, New York (WWNY) - Ogdensburg City Council meets Monday night to decide if the city should hire two new school resource officers and redraw a new contract for a third resource officer. It comes at a time when the city has a hiring freeze.

With recent swatting events (calls of fake violence) at St. Lawrence County schools, Ogdensburg’s school superintendent is asking the city for two more resource officers, and a new contract for the current SRO, giving the district an officer in each of its 3 school buildings.

City Councilor Dan Skamperle says he will support the new hires at a city council meeting Monday night.

“I’m just hoping that they - that common sense will finally prevail on something and they realize that not only is it advantageous to protecting our children, but also it’s going to give some relief to our current officers who are under tremendous amounts of stress these days because the department has been cut so much,” he said.

But what about the current hiring freeze within the city?

“At this moment, because of the need for these positions, we have to - the council has chosen to open up the hiring freeze for this particular position,” said City Manager Mohideen Buharie.

The cost of the new hires would be absorbed by the school district. Superintendent Kevin Kendall, in an April 4 letter to city lawmakers,

says, “As we’ve done in the past, the Ogdensburg City School District will provide the full cost of all three School Resource Officers and it will not impact the City’s expenses.”

City Police Chief Mark Kearns says this would be a win not only for the city but for the police department as it would add two officers to the force.

“The school district gets some much-needed safety for the students and the city gets essentially some officers at no cost to the city so I don’t see any reason for any complaints here in this situation,” said Kearns.

When school is on break, the resource officers would work full-time as Ogdensburg city police officers.