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The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • SROs will head back to schools

  • A plan to put retired police officers in Steuben County schools was unanimously approved Monday morning by the Steuben County Legislature, with many local superintendents on hand to show their support.

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  • A plan to put retired police officers in Steuben County schools was unanimously approved Monday morning by the Steuben County Legislature, with many local superintendents on hand to show their support.
    Budget cuts across the region have forced many districts to do away with their school resource officers.
    But the proposal, crafted by Steuben County Sheriff David Cole, would be more affordable for schools. While school districts would pay the officers’ salaries, they’d still get retirement benefits such as pension and health insurance through the law enforcement agencies they retired from.
    The Sheriff ’s Office will administer the program, but it will be open to retired officers from all local law enforcement agencies, not just retired deputies.
    The part-time officers will be paid $25,500 annually for 180 days of work at the schools, said Cole, a former Addison Central School District school resource officer.
    Legislator Patrick McAllister, R-Wayland, said the program will offer districts a school resource officer at a much lower cost than if the schools paid for the position on their own.
    “According to a study, without this plan it would cost the schools $60,000 to $90,000 each year,” McAllister said.
    “It’s a win-win program,” said Legislator Hilda Lando, D-Corning.
    Legislator Robin Lattimer, R-Bath, congratulated Cole for the work he has done on the program.
    Jeff Delorme, Corning-Painted Post assistant superintendent, said he strongly supports the program.
    “We had a school resource officer at both of the high schools, but because of state budget cuts we had to cut the positions,” Delorme said. “One thing we constantly see is the need to bring SROs back to our high schools.”
    Delorme said the CPP administration would like to bring a school resource officer back to East High and West High for the 2013-14 school year, and then one to the new combined high school and one to the combined new middle school when C-PP consolidates its schools in 2014-15.
    At the time the SRO positions were cut, the two officers at each high school cost C-PP a total of $130,000.
    Several school superintendents - including Bath Superintendent Joe Rumsey, Campbell-Savona Superintendent Kathy Hagenbuch, Avoca Superintendent Richard Yochem and Hammondsport Superintendent Kyle Bower – attended Monday’s meeting to support the plan prior to the Legislature.
    “Losing the position was a bigger issue than I first thought,” Hagenbuch said.
    Rumsey said the program will be a great addition to many local school districts.
    Addison Central School Superintendent Joe DioGuardi said SROs have a positive effect on students. Addison currently has an SRO through an agreement with the Addison Police Department.
    Cole said the Sheriff ’s Office and school officials will work together to chose a SRO for each school interested in the program.
    Page 2 of 2 - Legislator Scott VanEtten, R-Caton, asked if the program would mean additional liability for Steuben County.
    Deputy County Administrator Jack Wheeler said any additional liability would be eliminated by contractual agreements with the local schools.
    • In other business, the Legislature approved changing Steuben County’s charter from a county administrator form of government to a county manager form.
    The proposed change will go to a public referendum Nov. 5.
    The change would give the county administrator the right to hire and fi re heads of county departments. Currently, only the Legislature has that authority. It would also change the county’s elected treasurer position to a hired Commissioner of Finance position.
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