ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Would you feel safer having armed police officers in schools? Well the Sheriff’s Association is pushing to do just that.
“It’s something we should have done years ago,” Sheriff Craig Apple (D-Albany County) said.
Sheriff Apple says he will be supporting the call to have at least one armed school resource officer in every grade and high school across the state.
“They are our most vulnerable resource and they are our most valuable resource.”
“It’s something that’s moving forward and it’s needed today,” Sheriff Patrick Russo (R-Rensselaer County) said.
Both Sheriffs and the Sheriffs’ Association are calling on the legislature to include the money for the officers in this year’s budget. While they know that coming up with this large amount of money will be difficult, they say it is worth it.
“We have to make an investment in our children and make sure our children are protected. It’s going to cost money but we spend money on a lot of other things that aren’t as important, so this needs to be at the top of our list,” Sheriff Russo said.
Last year, a Senate bill similar to this proposal was passed in the Senate, but died in the Assembly.
The spokesman for the Senate Republicans issued a statement saying:
“It’s important that we consider additional steps to protect students while they are at school and away from their families, and anything we can do to improve security has to be right at the top of that list.”
But despite being a priority, the state is already facing a budget deficit this year.
“It’s tough to think where this money is going to come from and schools are getting cut every day. They are not getting the funding that they used to get,” Sheriff Apple said.
Sheriff Apple says now is the time to talk about it.
“It’s something that we need to sit down and talk about and not just let this pass and wait for the next school shooting to bring it up again.”
Both Sheriffs also mention that officers in schools can not only be a deterrent against violence but can also help prevent bullying and form bonds with students.