Community News

Sheriff’s Letter to the Editor on School Safety

June 15, 2018
Lately there has been a lot of discussion and input on the subject of school safety and school resource officers. For the record, I, like everyone else, am very concerned and I fully support the safety of our schools and children. I have been and will continue to work closely with our schools to improve their safety plans and building security and if given the authority and resources to do so I would put an officer in any school that requests it. Unfortunately the decision to employ a school resource officer is not one made in a vacuum.
Each school district, the school board and the school administration, will have to decide whether or not to have a Resource Officer in their school. It will be their decision on how to employ, train and pay that officer. This could be accomplished through the State Police, a local police force or through the Sheriff’s Office. There also would need to be a dialog and agreement made between the district and the affected law enforcement agency. In the case of the Sheriff’s Office, the county legislature would have to approve the creation of that position and integrate it into the Office of Sheriff. If a school district decides to employ an SRO and the county legislature approves that hiring and training by the sheriff’s office, there would be several other issues to consider, including funding, jurisdiction, union and liability issues, along with finding and training qualified individuals.
I would suggest that all of our residents contact their local school board along with the legislators in their district to voice their opinion on this important issue. In the end it will be my duty, as your sheriff, to abide by whatever decision is made by the districts and the legislators. As always, I encourage anyone with questions on any issue concerning the Sheriff’s Office to contact me at 585-268-9204 or .

Rick Whitney
Allegany County Sheriff