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March 7, 2018 - 3:30pm

Sheriff hosts meeting to discuss school safety, placing resource officers in every district

posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, Sheriff's Office, news, notify.

sro-deputy_matt_butler.jpg

Press release:

Genesee County Sheriff William A. Sheron Jr. hosted a meeting last week with Genesee County school superintendents, local police officials, local government representatives, along with state representatives Assemblyman Steve Hawley and Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer, to discuss school safety concerns and the viability of having School Resource officers within each school district.

"School Resource officers can play an important role in our school districts, from helping to resolve conflict to preventing tragedies," said Senator Ranzenhofer.

"I fully support placing these officers in our local school districts, and I have been working to secure state funding to expand School Resource officers in Genesee County and across New York State. I commend Sheriff Sheron for his leadership on this issue, and I will continue to work with him to keep our children safe."

While it was the consensus of most of those in attendance that there should be a School Resource Officer in each school within the county, concerns were expressed of how to fund the position and identifying the source of this funding.

The attendees discussed a variety of possible federal, state and local options and agreed to explore funding sources to offset the cost of the potential School Resource officers.

“I was pleased to meet with Sheriff Sheron, local educators and community stakeholders to discuss how we can increase school safety," said Assemblyman Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia). "The state needs to take action to help our schools become the most secure and comfortable environments they can be.

"We need to look at working with retired law enforcement and veterans in our schools because our children’s safety should be our number one priority.”

Currently, the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office has School Resource officers at the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership’s (BOCES) Batavia Campus (for the past 15 years) and in the Byron-Bergen Central School District (for the past three years).

Additionally, the Village of Le Roy Police Department provides a School Resource Officer to the Le Roy School District, and the Batavia City School District has security aides within its facilities.

During the meeting, representatives from Genesee Valley Educational Partnership’s (BOCES) Batavia Campus and the Byron-Bergen School District spoke highly about the advantages of having a School Resource Officer.

They explained that it not only provides a safe environment for the students and faculty but also provides for direct interaction and guidance with the students.

Both officials agreed that the benefits of having a School Resource Officer far outweigh the expense associated with the position.

“When we started our SRO Program 15 years ago, the prevailing question was, 'Why?' " said Christopher Hayward, Le Roy Police Chief. “With everything that has happened in the last 15 years, and sadly will continue to happen, the question has to be, ‘Why not?' "

Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch stated, “the City Police Department remains dedicated to the safety and security of all schools within its district. The time has come for the lawmakers in this state to step up and allow school districts to utilize their aid in establishing programs that make sense on a local level.

"This type of flexibility would go a long way to allowing each district in Genesee County to partner with local law enforcement to provide a School Resource Officer.”

Sheriff Sheron stated that it his goal to establish a School Resource Officer in all county schools to ensure the safety and protection of the students and faculty.

“Although the cost associated with placing a School Resource Officer in the schools is significant, I believe the safety and security of our children should be of the utmost precedence,” the sheriff said.

Genesee County Sheriff’s Deputies will be visiting schools on a regular basis and assist during school safety drills. This will aid in familiarizing Deputies with the school’s faculty and students along with the layout and procedures of each school.

Submitted photos. Top photo, Deputy Matt Butler, resource officer for Byron-Bergen, discusses his job with officials.

senator_ranzenhofer_sheriff_sheron.jpg

Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer, left, Sheriff William Sheron, right.

assemblyman_hawley.jpg

Assemblyman Steve Hawley

david spaulding
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Well folks the Sheriff wants to create jobs. The school districts have cut programs, classes, sports, teachers, sold schools, increased class sizes, due to the budget short falls yet the Sheriff wants an office with a Deputy, a dog, and a breathalyzer in each school....... come on back after we build a new jail Sheriff, money is still not in the budget. And Steve Hawley you keep speaking about veterans, a quick question, is there something wrong with not being a veteran? and retired law enforcement? they are retired Steve, get it? retired.

John Roach
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So, David Spaulding does not think school kids deserve protection?

david spaulding
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hey john, that's not true..... as they already have it ...... don't try that Batavia lynch mob garbage with me......

John Roach
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Dave, how do they have security? There are no armed security personnel in any of the Batavia City Schools.

Brian Graz
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I say that security improvements for all schools are a necessity, not optional any longer. I'm sure that there is school budget money that is being spent on non-essentials that should be re-allocated to this purpose. How much money is spent on extra-curricular activities [especially those that are selective and not all students can qualify and participate in]? Perhaps it's time for the parents of children in these activities to start sponsoring and paying for the costs associated. Not every student can play Basketball, but every student deserves to be protected. How much money is spent on electricity just to light the outdoor playing field for a Friday night game, that used to be played on Saturday afternoons [before we had enough money to spend on lights]?

I'm pretty sure that there is a large contingent of qualified, experienced veterans and former or off-duty law enforcement who would welcome an opportunity to provide security for our kids. And likely at a much lesser rate than what in service LEOs would cost.

I strongly implore the parties responsible to do something [more than dialog] and do something ASAP. Even if a contingency program to start. Actually I can't believe it has taken this long. Common sense and a touch of hindsight screams why wasn't this done after Columbine, 19 years ago? Since then, there have been 11 school shootings where 4 or more were killed, and a total of 139 fatalities. How many of those were preventable if society hadn't dragged it feet?

After 9/11 airlines installed security doors on the cockpits, pilots were allowed to be armed, random flights have armed air marshals, and entering the boarding areas requires extensive screening. Why haven't our schools had similar upgrades?

I personally feel that one armed security person will often not be sufficient... at least for some larger campuses, or multi building schools. I also strongly support that armed teachers and staff should be in the mix. Not all, but just those who are comfortable with it, and willing to undergo mandatory training and regular shooting/gun handling certifications, the same as law enforcement officers do. The last school shooting in Parkland, FL there were 3 faculty members killed when they confronted the shooter. All had military training, NONE of them were armed. I'll guarantee things that day would have turned out much different if they were armed.

BTW, End the "gun free zone" insanity.

david spaulding
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John, go to any Genesee co. school and attempt to enter it while school is in session. You'll see what I'm talking about.

John Roach
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David, that's what the schools that have had shootings would have said. If you were right, none of them would have happened, and Batavia's door/entry security is no better than they had.

You can't just walk into the Genesee County Court building either, but hey have an armed officer there.

Tim Miller
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Oboy - yet another "I'm pretty sure that there is a large contingent of qualified, experienced veterans and former or off-duty law enforcement who would welcome an opportunity to provide security for our kids. And likely at a much lesser rate than what in service LEOs would cost."

Every time I read this I have to wonder who these people are. What studies have been done to find these retired folks who are willing to work for little or no pay to stand around 8 hours per day? Brian - have you talked to many of these folks? Have you gotten commitments from them to take on this task? Or are you simply repeating a wonderful sounding sound-bite that has almost nothing behind it?

I have much respect for those who have spent their lives (and are spending their lives) protecting others, whether in the armed forces or police. But to have them repeatedly volunteered to spend THEIR retirement time protecting others is ridiculous, and takes away from real solutions. Of course, this could be a real solution...if those who spew that sound-bite got off their keisters and actually did something to see if the idea is feasible.

As David noted - they are retired already. Their time is theirs. If they choose to volunteer, that is fantastic and admirable. But repeating that line ad nauseam does nothing but possibly try to guilt some into volunteering to put their lives on the line.

Here's another idea... rather than spewing that sound-bite again, why don't you volunteer to get properly trained (at your expense) and take on the duties yourself? If you are not retired, well, I am sure you can find a 2nd or 3rd shift job that would allow you to be on campus during class time. At least then you would be volunteering YOUR time and energy, not somebody else's.

John Roach
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Tim, I know a number of retired police and correction officers, who after retirement took another full time job. Under NYS Tier 3 retirement system, there is little value for many to stay past 25 years. Many are in their late 40's-early 50's. They would take this type of job.

As for ex military, it depends on what their military job was to say they are trained for this type of work. But ex Military Police are. And many are not retired, just did not stay in the Military and would do this job..

However, the best idea is to have the School District pay for the hiring of a fulltime police officer.

Tim Miller
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John - I'm not suggesting that retirees *don't* want to work at all. Far from it - I have a brother-in-law who retired from the Navy who has been working since the day he retired. There are some, though, that have retired who wish to enjoy that retirement doing what they want to do.

My comments have been questioning the simplicity of declaring those retirees would willingly work for low/no pay to do something. My beef has been the idea that those making the declaration have not shown there is anything behind that simplistic suggestion, and the idea of seeming to volunteer others to do a task.

Howard B. Owens
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There's also the idea of "low pay."

You get what you pay for.

Do you really want those who apparently can't get any other job that pays more walking around a school with a gun?

John Roach
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Tim, OK, I understand. I do not know any who would work for free either.

david spaulding
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John, did you try walking into a school? for you to state what kind of security Florida has and what Batavia has is non-sense, you just made it up for your argument. cite me your source.

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John, Brian, & Tim, All Excellent views!! I would think that ex-military people with the appropriate M.O.S. would jump at the chance to shave some time off of their commitment in lieu of having to salute REMF`s & spit shine their boots for the last six months of their tour?? As for dave, well,,,,, ya can`t talk to a brick wall, he would kick if ya hung him with a new rope!!

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Folks, what do think ?, release the non violent weed smoking prison population and turn the barbed wired institution into a school.... Then you arm the PTSD veteran with one of those " looks like an assault rifle" rifles, swear them in as a resource officer and you can rest assured everybody is safe.... Don't forget you also have the NYS SAFE-ACT.

John Roach
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Dave, if the "SAFE ACT" actually protected anyone, you would not need to lock the school doors, would you? Your answer to this seems to be lock the door, bad people never get past locked doors.

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Hey dave - HOW DARE YOU MOCK OUR VETERANS!!! YOU SHOULD BE IN THE BROWARD COUNTY SLAM WITH HIM!!! "THE COWARDS IN BROWARD!!!"

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lmao @ tommy.... too bad if you don't like what I have to say.... a lot of people feel the same way, maybe they don't want to hear from the brain washed who try to silence them...... You see tommy, as much as you don't like my opinion, I care even less about yours...

Brian Graz
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Where did anyone suggest in this thread that the school security guards should be volunteers? {No sound-bytes, Miller. Regarding my getting "properly trained" and "volunteering"... don't concern yourself about me, I will take care of business as needed.}

As for retired police and vets, I know several, and for sure some of those [who are already working part-time security jobs] would be most interested... especially in light of the importance of the need and the importance of the folks being protected [our children].

As for the "low pay" stigma... I don't feel it applies to this special need/cause. My son is a f/t LEO 16yr Sgt who has always worked p/t security jobs as well. Yes partly because they typically pay well. But he has indicated that he would certainly welcome participating in a school security detail system, especially if he was protecting the schools his kids were in. DING! How many other [active/retired] LEOs are parents/grandparents who would feel the same? How many vets are parents/grandparents who feel the same? - Tom Callan's #14 - is spot-on.

I say, if we have enough money to fight other nation's wars, and build a southern border wall, protect politicians / judges / banks / NFL games / concerts at Batavia Downs / foreign dignitaries... then we sure as hell have enough money to secure our schools. ***Just maybe some re-allocation is in order... but we have the money!

Another example of the willingness of some civilians to step-up to the call for protecting the liberty of fellow citizens, check out the Oath-Keepers. Yea, in dire needs they will rally long distance and volunteer besides. Just sayin'.

Lastly, I suggest Spalding and Miller stop just criticizing, without providing some reasonable, do-able alternative to guarantee the safety of our schools going forward... I'm waiting... my grandkid's protection may be depending on it.

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weed smoking prison population?? Really?? If you had a hunk of brain, you would know that 21 grams, or less, was decriminalized in `76. Show me where?? The draconian Rockefeller Drug Law was amended so that "small amount users" didn`t clog up the courts, and put them in Attica for having a joint. Also, dave, don`t shoot your Mouth Off, unless your BRAIN is LOADED!!

Thomas Callan
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weed smoking prison population?? Really?? If you had a hunk of brain, you would know that 21 grams, or less, was decriminalized in `76. Show me where?? The draconian Rockefeller Drug Law was amended so that "small amount users" didn`t clog up the courts, and put them in Attica for having a joint. Also, dave, don`t shoot your Mouth Off, unless your BRAIN is LOADED!!

Thomas Callan
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weed smoking prison population?? Really?? If you had a hunk of brain, you would know that 21 grams, or less, was decriminalized in `76. Show me where?? The draconian Rockefeller Drug Law was amended so that "small amount users" didn`t clog up the courts, and put them in Attica for having a joint. Also, dave, don`t shoot your Mouth Off, unless your BRAIN is LOADED!!

david spaulding
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tommy you upset ? you're stuttering again... not that there is anything wrong with that........
Brian, somewhere in life you must have learned that there are no guarantees in life
except the part about dying.....

John Roach
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David, you still say locked doors are the answer? No police officers in schools to protect kids?

Brian Graz
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Spalding, I've experienced and learned enough about dying that I'm all in favor of avoiding it as long as possible.

Thomas Callan
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I think he is dead, in the head! tuff guy

david spaulding
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Graziano Graz whomever you are.... I'm on board with you, your guarantee of the children's safety is to hire your Sgt son. and his friends, maybe even hire you. sounds like a plan.

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