Two police officers are scheduled to begin full-time assignments as "school resource officers" in the city's middle and high schools Feb. 1.
School resource officers are intended to reinforce trust, safety and communication among parents, students and school personnel. In proposing grant sponsorship of the four-year program to aldermen last summer, a juvenile officer said the school district has had bomb scares, and police are called to the school several times a week.
A similar program, described as successful by school and police officials, already is in place at Pioneer Central School District in Yorkshire. Similar programs exist around Western New York and in other states.
Police Chief Brian Donnelly said a team of police and school representatives chose two veteran officers from among five applicants who volunteered after federal grant money was received in September.
Randy Langdon, a 19-year veteran of the Olean Police Department and the city's Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) officer for the past three years, will be assigned to Olean Middle School. Michael Brandow, a patrolman with almost four years' experience, will be at the high school.
Both of them are graduates of the city's school system.
A $250,000 grant from the U.S. Justice Department's Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Program will pay the two officers for a three-year period. Under the terms of the grant, the Olean School District has agreed to pay the salaries for the fourth -- and final -- year.
Donnelly said the two men have completed 40 hours of training in Albany. Each will have his own office in the school buildings and will be in charge of certain lessons and activities.
Langdon will be introduced to middle-school students at an assembly. He also will continue his DARE duties in the third grade and in the middle school.
Brandow will introduce himself and his program to smaller groups of students, he added.
Both officers will be paid their usual wages and probably will return to the Police Department for temporary patrol assignments during the school district's summer break, Donnelly said.
Applicants were screened in November by Donnelly, High School Principal Barbara Lias, Middle School Principal Fred Nichols and the Police Department's Division of Youth and Recreation Services Coordinator William Aiello.
Donnelly said he intends to hire two replacement officers soon from a Civil Service list or through lateral transfers of officers working in other police departments.