Oneida County adds security officers to Utica elementary schools
Oneida County is adding special patrol officers in all 10 Utica public elementary schools, and more are said to be coming soon to other districts around the county.
Sheriff Rob Maciol and County Executive Anthony Picente signed an agreement today with Utica Superintendent Bruce Karam to place officers in the city’s elementary schools.
Maciol said he’s awaiting formal contract signings to announce which other schools will get officers but added that once they come through the number will approach 90.
Special patrol officers are part-time officers who provide security in schools. Under an initiative Picente announced last spring after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the county set aside $500,0000 to share half the cost of the officers’ pay with school districts.
Last week, the legislature approved a transfer of $85,000 in the sheriff’s 2018 budget for a telephone-system upgrade to the equipment budget to cover the expected outfitting costs. The money was not needed after the telephone work was paid for under a larger county-wide communications capital project.
“The money that we’re transferring is to purchase uniforms, weapons, body armor which are the bullet proof vests, the portable radios, all that stuff,” Maciol said. “We’ll be going into three to four additional schools starting in January after the Christmas break.”
There are now 50 special patrol officers throughout eight school districts. The Rome, New Hartford and Oriskany school districts have arrangements worked out with their respective police departments to provide security or school resource officers, as does Utica with its high school and middle schools, according to the county.
The Sheriff’s Office also has 20 special patrol officers assigned to other county locations including the County Office Building and Union Station in Utica, the Centralized Arraignment Court in Whitestown and the Department of Social Services and Family Court facilities in Rome.
It also provides five total school resource officers for educational and counseling to the Holland Patent and Westmoreland Central School Districts and Oneida- Herkimer-Madison and Madison-Oneida BOCES.