Zach Warriner didn’t skip a beat when he started in his new role as a school resource officer for Schuylerville Central School on Thursday.
The Saratoga County sheriff’s deputy was hired in the role to protect students and create bonds to assist students with different needs.
Like Warriner, many area school districts have added a school resource officer or two to enhance their district’s security. As students return to school, hired officers are getting accustomed to the students and, of course, the students are adapting to the armed guard.
Thirty-two school resource officers, including officers who may go to 13 interested districts in The Post-Star‘s coverage area, have passed a …
Before students entered the building for the first day of school, Warriner found himself getting acquainted with a new area student.
“He was just nervous so I was just telling him it’s OK,” he said.
His calming and relaxed demeanor helped him communicate with students, despite him being fully suited as a traditional officer.
“It’s new for them,” Warriner said of seeing an officer at school. “(My goal is) just to make them feel OK, just showing them I am more than just a uniform; I am a person. I care about all the kids and I care about all the staff.”
Warriner complimented the staff and students after the warm welcoming. He plans on just being himself and to be interactive with them in the cafeteria and gymnasium.
“I think I’ll probably let them win,” he said of joining the gym classes.
In Washington County, Sheriff Jeff Murphy said there are four retired officers in schools. Whitehall Central School budgeted for two officers for the year and had one lined up. However, that officer grew ill just before school started. Whitehall didn’t have an officer on the first day.
The Sheriff’s Office didn’t want to rush hiring school resource officers, Murphy said.
Murphy said he is working with the school to find a solution that may include an active officer receiving pay from the district, equal to what was budgeted for an officer. That officer will return to street patrol to cap his daily hours for the Sheriff’s Office.
The Warren County Sheriff’s Office likely needs 12 police officers to assign to schools next year through the agency’s new school resource off…
The sheriff said he would present the district with options next week.
Hudson Falls, Argyle, Hartford and Greenwich all have an officer apiece through the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
A captain in the Sheriff’s Office was in contact with the active officers and will have a meeting with them on Friday to be updated on their needs.
“Basically, what it all boils down to … is creating positive interactions with the kids and being somebody that is a role model, somebody who they can talk to,” Murphy said of his school resource officers. “We are very fortunate to have the officers that we have.”
Queensbury hired two school resource officers for the school year through the Warren County Sheriff’s Office. Superintendent Douglas Huntley said the officers were active.
Officer Don Murphy even taught students in the William H. Barton Intermediate School about tolerance to differences in people during an assembly on Thursday.
Officers also assisted in guiding traffic with the new traffic patterns on campus.
“For the first day, it went extremely well,” Huntley said, though school construction is still present on campus. “There was very, very little (impact). In fact, some people were saying there was no backup on Aviation Road.”