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Agreement with schools approved

The Tonawanda Town Board on Monday unanimously approved an agreement with the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School District that is aimed reducing the instance of bomb threats at both Kenmore West and Kenmore East high schools.

The Town Board also approved the hiring of three new police officers, two of whom will serve as full-time school resource officers at each of the high schools. Town and school officials are reacting to a rash of bomb threats that plagued the district, as many as 10 during the past school year. Most were at the high schools.

"I know [Town of Tonawanda Police Chief Anthony J. Palombo] believes firmly that the presence of these police officers in the schools . . . will have a positive impact on deterring crime in the schools," said Councilman Joseph H. Emminger.

Emminger said the school resource officer program will mirror another program geared toward fifth-graders in the school district. The Drug Awareness Resistance Education program, he said, helps pupils and police officers to form relationships that help minimize crime in schools.

Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School Board member Thomas J. Noonan, who attended Monday's Town Board meeting, said the School Board has already committed $200,000 toward funding the school resource officer program.

"The community overwhelmingly supported this action with their vote on May 15. With your action tonight, you will ensure that their wish for a more secure environment for our students will be a reality," Noonan said.

Shortly after the rash of bomb threats, police officers were installed in the high schools on a rotating basis. Noonan said their effect in reducing crime was immediate.

"We need a more proactive approach in regards to security," Noonan said. "By placing overtime officers in the buildings and enacting a plan to keep the schools secure, we were able to eliminate these threats completely."

In agreeing to collaborate with the school district, the Town Board Monday approved a resolution authorizing Town Supervisor Ronald H. Moline to sign an agreement with the school district for a period running from Aug. 2, 2007, through June 30, 2010.


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