Do resource officers make a school safer?

Posted at: 01/18/2013 8:42 PM
Updated at: 01/18/2013 11:09 PM
By: Amanda Ciavarri

President Obama made safety of our children a top priority. This week, he announced he has a proposal that, if passed, will fund resource officers in schools, if a district wants them.

Right now, resource officers are in many schools, but not every one. With word of this new plan, News10NBC wanted to know would they make a school safer? We went to one district who had to pull them this year due to lack of funding.

The Greece Central School District says they would place a bid for the funding President Obama mentioned if it becomes available. In years past, they have had resources officers in schools, but this year that changed mainly because of the budget. The removal saves the district $70,000 to 100,000 a school year. While the funding would help, the district says they aren't positive it will really happen.

Edward Knaak, Supervisor of Security at Greece Central School District, said, “I find it hard to believe that they could fund enough people for every school in this country, it's not going to happen.”

But that doesn't mean the Greece Central School District doesn't want to see it happen. On Friday afternoon, News10NBCe went to district to talk to them about safety. This year, mainly, cause of the budget, the district changed the role of resource officers.

Knaak said, “What's different this year is we don't have the school resource officers in our buildings as regularly as we did.”

It went from having 25 officers monitoring different schools to district security in schools and calling police in when needed. This is a temporary plan.

Knaak said, “Basically what we are trying to do is do a different model where we have a full time school resource officer, so it'd be the same person that would be available to us everyday.”

As News10NBC's Amanda Ciavarri spoke to Edward Knaak, the supervisor of security for the district, they spoke about if this cut has changed security.

Ciavarri said, “Are schools less safe now that resource officers aren't there as frequently as before?”

Knaak said, “Everything is about timing. We have fights in our schools when police are there. We have fights in our school when police aren't there. But the main objective that any school needs to do is detect any threatening behavior before it happens in the school.”

Ciavarri said, “There is this perception is reality, so when these officers may not be in school some parents may perceive that the reality is  that it's not as safe, but you're saying that's not the case?

Knaak said, “You know, for our police department they are just a couple minutes away. This is not like a rural police department where they are 15 minutes away. And most of our schools are on main drags so there may be cars driving by. We try and give them plenty of lead time if we feel there may be something that is going to happen.”

The system is temporary in Greece. Right now, a consulting firm is looking into security at the district to find ways they can improve and change.

On Monday, Amanda Ciavarri will sit down with the Greece Police Department to see how this change in the school impacts them.