As a way to prevent future mass shootings in schools, the New York State Sheriffs' Association called for the state to fund "at least one armed school resource officer at every grade school and high school in the state," in a statement released Thursday.
“We spend many millions of dollars to protect a relatively small number of judges across the state, as we should. Surely we can also find the money to protect our most defenseless people – the children we send off to school each day,” said Wayne County Sheriff Barry Virts, president of the Sheriffs’ Association, in the statement.
The organization, which represents all of the elected and appointed sheriffs in the state, wants the State Legislature to include in the 2018 budget money to fund the school resource officers in the states 4,750 public schools and nearly 2,000 private schools. The association estimated the cost "would be roughly equivalent to that of adding one teacher to each of these schools."
Some school districts already have school resource officers funded by the district or their county or some combination of both but the association pointed out that many have stopped having officers on their campuses, the association pointed out.
Sheriffs around the state have different ideas about how to implement the program, including having only a single point of entry at each school where the armed officer would be stationed or using retired law enforcement for the jobs. The association said it supports assigning "active deputy sheriffs or other active police officers to the schools as SROs who would have the freedom to move about the campus, 'network' with students and staff and either head off an incident before it happens or at least be there on scene to immediately respond.”