SPRINGVILLE — New York State Sen. Patrick Gallivan announced that he has secured state funding to employ a school resource officer at five Erie County school districts, beginning in the 2013 – 14 academic year.
The program is being administered in cooperation with the Erie County Sheriff’s Office, which will provide a sheriff’s deputy to serve as the SRO, on a rotating basis, at Iroquois Central School District, Alden Central School District, Springville-Griffith Institute Central School District, North Collins Central School District and Holland Central School District.
“Protecting students and providing a safe environment for their education is a central responsibility of state government. Student resource officers used to be a common sight, in our schools, but recent budget constraints have limited available funding, for these positions. Numerous school districts have contacted me about re-instituting an SRO program and I am thrilled we are able to oblige,” Gallivan said. “Today’s schools are facing a host of difficult challenges, that school resource officers have been proven to help address. From cyber-bullying to vandalism, school resource officers help promote a safe educational environment in schools, so teachers are able to teach and students are able to learn.”
Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard commended Gallivan for securing the funding for the “vitally important” service.
“Resource officers play many roles, including first responders for any and all critical incidents on campus, whether it’s an intruder, a student fight or a health emergency. Having a deputy on campus can eliminate several minutes of response time, when seconds count,” Howard added.
The SRO will be funded through a one-year $100,000 legislative initiative grant secured by Gallivan and will serve at each school district twice weekly, on a randomized, rotating basis, beginning in the fall.
The five school districts that are participating in this program do not currently employ a school resource officer on their campuses.
Dr. Paul Connelly, superintendent of S-GI, said, “The Springville-Griffith Institute Central School District is very grateful for Senator Gallivan’s concern over the safety of our students and school district. The S-GI District has a wonderful relationship with the Erie County Sheriffs, who have been there for us, time and time again. This grant will only strengthen that relationship.”
Jeff Durkin, founder and president of the Safe Community Coalition, said, “The re-instatement of an SRO was one of the critical opportunities the Safe Community Coalition had identified, as a proactive step to making our schools and communities safer, so we are excited and grateful for the funding allocation.”