SARATOGA SPRINGS – At a special mid-day meeting of the City Council Aug. 27, the council approved a new contract to continue the School Resource Officer Program in the city’s public school system for the next two years.
The new contract represents some changes compared to the agreement which what had previously existed.
Previously, if the assigned SRO was not available – those cases including sick days and time off – a replacement had not been provided, explained Public Safety Commissioner Peter Martin. With the desire to have an armed and trained SRO present at the high school every day, the new contract stipulates that should the assigned SRO not be available on any school day, the city will provide a qualified substitute for the position. To meet that expectation, three additional officers began their SRO training on Aug. 27 to ensure there may be substitutes available.
The SRO will be assigned to the school on a full-time basis and on duty at the campus from 7:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. each school day, excluding summer school and summer programs. The School Resource Officer remains an employee of the city and within the chain of command of the Saratoga Springs Police Department.
Previous costs to the school were about $53,000. To meet the additional guaranteed time, the new contract sets costs at $65,000 for the 2019-2020 school year, and $70,000 for 2020-2021.
An additional officer, supplied by the Saratoga County Sheriff's Office, is designated for Maple Avenue Middle School, Dorothy Nolan Elementary and the Greenfield Elementary schools.
Among the duties of the School Resource Officer: assisting the Principal in developing plans and strategies to prevent and/or minimize dangerous situations which may occur on campus or during school sponsored events.
The SRO shall take law enforcement action as required. Except in an emergency situation, the SRO shall obtain the consent of the principal of the school prior to taking such action. At the Principal's request, the SRO shall take appropriate law enforcement action against intruders and unwanted guests who may appear at the school, and related school functions. And, except in an emergency situation, the SRO shall notify the principal before requesting additional police assistance on campus.