School district, RPD near deal

Published Mar 16, 2018 at 1:00pm

The Rome school district is nearing an agreement with the Rome Police Department to provide at least three School Security Officer (SSO) positions for elementary schools.

Efforts toward the agreement were noted at the Board of Education meeting Thursday night by district Superintendent Peter C. Blake.

In addition, the police department has begun increasing its patrols around all of the district’s elementary schools “on a daily basis” for more “presence there,” Blake said.

For SSOs, the police department is considering using retired officers with sufficient physical fitness levels, with the department maintaining their active shooter training along with other training to retain police certifications, Deputy Police Chief Kevin Simons said today.

The SSOs would be for security inside the schools, and for when children are arriving and departing on buses, Simons said. They could react if an incident occurred, and would contact police officers, he added.

The Rome district currently has has two school resource officers (SROs) at Rome Free Academy and one SRO at Strough Middle School in conjunction with the police department. SROs are Rome police officers who also are involved in
classroom presentations, intervention with students, and other daily activities among their functions, Simons explained.

Blake said after the board meeting that he is hoping to make a joint announcement with the police department by around late April or early May regarding the elementary school initiative.

The district is looking to add “no less than three” of the police positions for elementary schools, Blake said after the meeting. The district has seven elementary schools overall.

In the meantime, Simons said, the police department has “agreed to step up patrols” around the elementary schools. This will include when students are entering and exiting buildings, he said, adding that police will be “more visible.” Police previously have gone by schools including for such activities as checking to be sure crossing guards are in place, said Simons, and “now we’re just making it a little more of a structure.”