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Batavia seeks federal grant for school resource officer

BATAVIA – Calling it the “next logical step” in developing an effective relationship with local law enforcement, School Superintendent Christopher J. Dailey said Tuesday that he is onboard with a joint effort to secure a federal grant for a districtwide resource officer.

Dailey and city Police Chief Shawn Heubusch will be applying for the grant through the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS.

COPS Hiring Program grants are for hiring or rehiring law enforcement officers, providing 75 percent of the entry-level salaries and fringe benefits of each newly hired and/or rehired full-time officer, up to $125,000 per officer position, over a three-year period.

The school district and the Police Department would split the remaining 25 percent and would be responsible for the total cost of a mandatory fourth year of the program.

“The resource officer will help us in the areas of education, security and safety,” Dailey said. “We have been utilizing (city) police officers for speaking engagements and at dismissal and arrival to help with the process. This is the next logical step.”

Police officers also are called in to the schools when fights occur or when laws may have been broken.

Heubusch and Dailey said the grant application will be submitted by the end of this month and notification will come in early fall. Should they receive the grant, an officer would be hired to start in the fall of 2016.

“The interview process will include officers we currently have along with those who may apply for the position,” Heubusch said. “It’s important that we find the right person for the job. It takes a certain skill set.”

Dailey said the impact on the district taxpayer would be “very small.”

“We considered it, but it wasn’t feasible for us to pay for the whole thing,” he said. “The grant would enable us to phase this in over time.”