The Little Falls Common Council Tuesday evening unanimously passed a resolution to provide an additional school resource officer to the Little Falls City School District.
The Little Falls Police Department has had a police officer assigned to the school district for 30 hours per week since 2010. The $20,000 cost per year to provide an officer to Benton Hall Academy and Little Falls Middle and High School is split evenly between the city and the school district.
“Since the Sandy Hook tragedy we have evaluated our security readiness and feel we can do better to protect our children,” said Little Falls Police Chief Michael Masi, adding while the current officer splits his time between the schools, most of the officer’s time is spent at the middle and high school. “The recent event in Newtown, Conn., demonstrated an equal vulnerability in elementary schools as in middle and high schools. The response time from one school to another is valuable time that I do not think is worth risking when we can provide an officer at each location for a very minimal cost.”
The second school resource officer will be placed at Benton Hall under the same arrangement as the officer placed at Little Falls Middle and High School. The school district will pay the police department $20,000 a year as a contribution to the cost of the city providing the two resource officers.
“This would provide an officer at both schools and would drastically increase the physical security of the schools, as well as provide for the many other benefits an officer has in the school environment,” said Masi. “This increased service would only cost the city $20,000 a year. This cost is trivial if it can increase our protection against the tragic events that have become far too common in our schools.”
“To be able to provide safety for our schools and children at such a minimal cost is a great thing,” said Mayor Robert Peters, adding the city of Little Falls is the only municipality in Herkimer County that provides an officer assigned to the school. “I am happy the city and the school district were able to reach an agreement on something as important as this. Recent events have taught us that you cannot be too careful, and I believe the additional officer at our schools will pay dividends.”
The Little Falls Board of Education is expected to vote on the agreement next week.
The board’s meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in the library of Benton Hall Academy.
“On behalf of the board of education, I thank the mayor and Common Council for approving this agreement. This program has proven to be successful in the past, and I have no doubt it will prove to be successful in the future,” board of education President Scott Tooley said Tuesday evening.
Page 2 of 2 - The two school resource officers will be assigned and present at their designated schools on all days school is in session through the end of the academic year in June. The agreement will remain in effect for succeeding school calendar years, provided the parties agree to amend the contract.
“The safety of our children is a matter that has been taken seriously by the school, the city and the police department. Everyone has been willing to work together to provide a service, at minimal cost, that has over recent years proved to be a necessity,” said Masi. “I commend the city and the school district for their continued efforts to keep our children and our schools safe.”