MALONE — Candidate interviews begin today to find a resource officer for the Malone Central School District.
Five have applied, District Superintendent Jerry Griffin said.
It has been more than 10 years since a resource officer was present in the district.
The uniformed resource officer would be on duty each day school is in session and mainly share time between Franklin Academy High School and Malone Middle School, with periodic assignments and security checks at the district’s three elementary buildings, Griffin said.
Having a policing presence can curb or prevent incidents among students and give the young people another adult and authority figure to turn to if they need help, advice or guidance.
The officer would also be an extra set of eyes during periods when larger numbers of students congregate and move from one place to another, such as lunch hour, when incidents most often occur.
“There is always a need for an extra adult during times of transition,” the superintendent said.
A committee of High School, Middle School and Elementary School administrators and teachers and district Business Administrator Timothy Whipple, led by High School Principal Brandon Pelkey, will conduct the interviews after giving the candidates an overview of the job expectations.
Griffin said the committee will make its recommendation to the Franklin County Legislature, which agreed to designate the special patrol officer under Civil Service Law by request from District Attorney Derek Champagne.
The DA’s Office will provide the uniform, weapon and insurance coverage for the officer, but the roughly $30,000 salary will be paid by the School District.
An agreement between the School District and county is being drawn up to formalize the responsibilities of each party.
The Malone Village Police had received a three-year grant in 2000 to create a resource-officer position, but when the money ran out in 2003, the job was abolished.
SAFE ACT ALLOWS POSITION
Champagne approached the district during 2013-14 budget discussions about re-establishing the job with support from his office.
The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting massacre in December 2012 had prompted the effort to fill a resource-officer position again.
Under the provisions of the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (SAFE Act), an armed police officer or peace officer is allowed on school grounds.
According to minimum qualifications, candidates must be a recently retired member of a municipal police department, sheriff’s department or State Police or someone who has successfully completed Police Academy training.
Griffin said the new hire would be given office space and computer access to the security cameras at each school, patrol the outside of the buildings and check with staff on such security protocols as identification badges and maintaining locked doors.
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