SARATOGA -- The Saratoga Town Board voted Monday to hire off-duty or retired police officers to serve as security at Saratoga Town Court after town Justice Kurt Mausert questioned a practice that used high school students for security.
The town will have security at the court at least two nights a month during criminal court calendars, most notably the days prosecutors attend court. Those are the days when the most serious criminal cases are typically scheduled.
The move was made after Mausert, a lawyer who was appointed town justice in March, raised questions about a prior justice’s decision to have BOCES criminal justice students act as security officers staffing a metal detector at the court’s entrance.
The students were interns getting school credit.
Not only did the practice endanger the students, but it also exposed the town to potential liability, Mausert said.
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Mausert said the Town Board was not aware of the teen security program, which he called “immoral and unconscionable” because it placed the teens in the paths of potentially armed felons and criminals.
“Apparently, the Town Board had not been informed about the aspect of the BOCES intern program in which the children were used as security personnel,” he said. “A security expert from the Unified Court System had warned the prior judge not to use the children in this way, but the program went on anyway.”
Mausert has been challenged by Daniel Waldron, a retired police officer. Mausert is running on the Democrat, Republican and Independence lines, while Waldron is running on the Republican, Conservative and Independence lines.