OSWEGO COUNTY — Three school districts in Oswego County will deploy armed special patrol officers among their student populations starting this upcoming school year in an effort to strengthen school safety, according to local law enforcement officials and lawmakers.

During a special meeting of the Oswego County Legislature public safety committee last week, county officials approved a resolution that would allow the Oswego County Sheriff’s Office to receive $110,143.60 from the participating districts in order to cover salaries, equipment and benefits for four special patrol officers (SPO). 

“[The SPOs'] main priority is school safety and the security of the school,” Oswego County Sheriff Don Hilton told The Palladium-Times recently in regards to the SPO positions. Hilton described the SPOs as “eyes and ears with the student population” who could ideally stop problems before they escalate.

According to officials, the Hannibal Central School District (HCSD), Sandy Creek Central School District and the Center for Instruction Technology and Innovation (CiTi BOCES) will participate in the SPO program. The agents will partake in active shooter drills and attend a state-certified academy for training, Hilton said.

Additionally, every SPO will be tasked with providing general information to visitors on premises, preparing incident reports and maintaining and updating records as required, according to human resources documents provided by the sheriff’s office.

The set of skills listed in the document include performing first aid tactics and carrying out established security procedures in case of emergencies such as fire or bomb threats.

County Legislator Terry Wilbur, R-Hannibal, praised the program highlighting the “neutral cost” the program signifies for the county.

“This is a great program,” Wilbur said, noting there was a sense of urgency for the committee to vote on the program since SPO training courses start in early July. “I am happy for the schools that are taking advantage of it and participating in it. I want to thank the sheriff and the department, along with other members of the County Safety Initiative who have stepped up, worked together and put this program forward.”

According to HCSD officials, its two officers will rotate between schools.

“We want our students to be able to build healthy relationships with law enforcement and for them to have role models,” said Superintendent Christopher Staats when the program was announced.

Hilton said there are ongoing conversations with other districts to bring SPOs on board.

The sheriff’s office SPO program is part of what school safety advocates have recorded as a recent trend in education expenditure.

According to “Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2017,” a study compiled by the National Center for Education Statistics, the percentage of public schools that had a plan in place for procedures to be performed in the event of a shooting increased over time, from 79 percent in 2003–04 to 92 percent in 2015–16.

NYSED Table 2018

Field 1 Field 2 Field 3 Field 4 Field 5 Field 6 Field 7 Field 8 Field 9 Field 10 Field 11 Field 12 Field 13 Field 14 Field 15 Field 16 Field 17 Field 18 Field 19 Field 20 Field 21 Field 22
County District School Name BEDS Code Grade Organization Need/Resource Category School Type Enrollment Inactive Date Homicide Sexual Offenses: Forcible Sex Offenses Sexual Offenses: Other Sex Offenses Assault - Physical Injury: Total Number of Incidents Assault - Serious Physical Injury Weapons Possession: Routine Security Check Weapons Possession: Other Discrimination, Harassment, and Bullying: All Excluding Cyberbullying Discrimination, Harassment, and Bullying: Cyberbullying Bomb Threat False Alarm Use, Possession, or Sale of Drugs Use, Possession, or Sale of Alcohol
OSWEGO ALTMAR-PARISH ALTMAR-PARISH-WILLIAMSTOWN JR/SR HS 460102040006 Junior-Senior High RURAL HIGH NEEDS Public 585 0 0 3 0 0 7 2 19 2 0 1 7 5
OSWEGO ALTMAR-PARISH ALTMAR-PARISH-WILLIAMSTOWN ELEMEN 460102040007 Elementary RURAL HIGH NEEDS Public 641 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 0 0 0 2 0
OSWEGO FULTON FAIRGRIEVE SCHOOL 460500010001 Elementary URBAN/SUBURBAN/HIGH NEEDS Public 483 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0
OSWEGO FULTON G RAY BODLEY HIGH SCHOOL 460500010005 Senior High URBAN/SUBURBAN/HIGH NEEDS Public 1105 0 0 1 8 0 0 8 13 0 0 0 12 2
OSWEGO FULTON FULTON JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL 460500010006 Junior High URBAN/SUBURBAN/HIGH NEEDS Public 479 0 0 7 6 0 0 1 17 0 0 0 1 1
OSWEGO FULTON GRANBY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 460500010007 Elementary URBAN/SUBURBAN/HIGH NEEDS Public 492 0 0 1 1 1 0 1 13 0 0 0 1 0
OSWEGO FULTON J E LANIGAN SCHOOL 460500010008 Elementary URBAN/SUBURBAN/HIGH NEEDS Public 443 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 2 1 0 0 0 0
OSWEGO FULTON VOLNEY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 460500010011 Elementary URBAN/SUBURBAN/HIGH NEEDS Public 386 0 0 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
OSWEGO HANNIBAL KENNEY MIDDLE SCHOOL 460701040001 Middle RURAL HIGH NEEDS Public 416 0 0 1 8 0 0 0 7 2 1 0 0 0
OSWEGO HANNIBAL HANNIBAL HIGH SCHOOL 460701040002 Senior High RURAL HIGH NEEDS Public 433 0 0 3 2 0 0 3 6 0 0 0 7 0
OSWEGO HANNIBAL FAIRLEY SCHOOL 460701040003 Elementary RURAL HIGH NEEDS Public 560 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 9 0 0 0 0 0
OSWEGO CENTRAL SQUARE AURA A COLE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 460801060001 Elementary AVERAGE NEEDS Public 439 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
OSWEGO CENTRAL SQUARE BREWERTON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 460801060002 Elementary AVERAGE NEEDS Public 432 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
OSWEGO CENTRAL SQUARE PAUL V MOORE HIGH SCHOOL 460801060005 Senior High AVERAGE NEEDS Public 1203 0 0 5 1 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 4 1
OSWEGO CENTRAL SQUARE MILLARD HAWK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 460801060006 Elementary AVERAGE NEEDS Public 507 0 0 4 13 0 0 0 7 0 0 1 0 0
OSWEGO CENTRAL SQUARE HASTINGS MALLORY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 460801060007 Elementary AVERAGE NEEDS Public 402 0 0 2 2 0 1 0 7 0 0 0 0 0
OSWEGO CENTRAL SQUARE CENTRAL SQUARE MIDDLE SCHOOL 460801060008 Middle AVERAGE NEEDS Public 873 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 5 0 0 0 5 2
OSWEGO MEXICO MEXICO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 460901060001 Elementary AVERAGE NEEDS Public 355 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0
OSWEGO MEXICO PALERMO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 460901060002 Elementary AVERAGE NEEDS Public 208 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 7 0 0 0 0 0
OSWEGO MEXICO MEXICO HIGH SCHOOL 460901060003 Senior High AVERAGE NEEDS Public 623 0 0 0 4 2 0 0 10 0 0 0 2 3
OSWEGO MEXICO NEW HAVEN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 460901060004 Elementary AVERAGE NEEDS Public 288 0 0 0 12 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
OSWEGO MEXICO MEXICO MIDDLE SCHOOL 460901060005 Middle AVERAGE NEEDS Public 599 0 0 0 19 0 1 0 3 0 0 0 0 3
OSWEGO OSWEGO CHARLES E RILEY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 461300010002 Elementary AVERAGE NEEDS Public 409 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
OSWEGO OSWEGO LEIGHTON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 461300010003 Elementary AVERAGE NEEDS Public 285 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
OSWEGO OSWEGO FITZHUGH PARK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 461300010004 Elementary AVERAGE NEEDS Public 421 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0
OSWEGO OSWEGO KINGSFORD PARK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 461300010005 Elementary AVERAGE NEEDS Public 403 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
OSWEGO OSWEGO MINETTO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 461300010006 Elementary AVERAGE NEEDS Public 439 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
OSWEGO OSWEGO OSWEGO MIDDLE SCHOOL 461300010007 Junior High AVERAGE NEEDS Public 566 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
OSWEGO OSWEGO OSWEGO HIGH SCHOOL 461300010008 Senior High AVERAGE NEEDS Public 1134 0 0 2 10 0 1 2 2 2 0 0 12 0
OSWEGO PULASKI PULASKI HIGH SCHOOL 461801040001 Senior High RURAL HIGH NEEDS Public 330 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 6 0 1 1 1 2
OSWEGO PULASKI PULASKI ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 461801040003 Elementary RURAL HIGH NEEDS Public 471 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
OSWEGO PULASKI PULASKI MIDDLE SCHOOL 461801040004 Middle RURAL HIGH NEEDS Public 247 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
OSWEGO SANDY CREEK SANDY CREEK HIGH SCHOOL 461901040001 Senior High RURAL HIGH NEEDS Public 220 0 0 0 12 0 0 1 46 3 0 0 0 0
OSWEGO SANDY CREEK SANDY CREEK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 461901040002 Elementary RURAL HIGH NEEDS Public 422 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0
OSWEGO SANDY CREEK SANDY CREEK MIDDLE SCHOOL 461901040003 Middle RURAL HIGH NEEDS Public 177 0 0 1 13 0 0 0 8 2 0 0 0 0
OSWEGO PHOENIX MICHAEL A MAROUN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 462001060001 Elementary AVERAGE NEEDS Public 690 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
OSWEGO PHOENIX EMERSON J DILLON MIDDLE SCHOOL 462001060004 Middle AVERAGE NEEDS Public 504 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 12 0 0 0 1 0
OSWEGO PHOENIX JOHN C BIRDLEBOUGH HIGH SCHOOL 462001060006 Senior High AVERAGE NEEDS Public 570 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 12 0 0 0 8 4

Pictured above is a table of school safety statistic for Oswego County Schools compiled by the New York State Education Department (NYSED)

In addition to the SPO program, the sheriff’s office will implement eight, two-day active shooter training sessions this month in Sandy Creek. The program is meant to prepare county law enforcement agents for the 2019-20 school year.

Some districts, such as the Oswego City School District, Fulton Central School District and Central Square Central School District have indicated they will not participate in the program. Those three districts currently use their own school resource officer program with their respective local municipal police departments.

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