The Warren County Sheriff’s Office likely needs 12 police officers to assign to schools next year through the agency’s new school resource officer program, and so far the candidate pool has not been as deep as hoped.
“At this point we don’t have enough,” Warren County Undersheriff Shawn Lamouree said. “We are actively seeking people.”
Sheriff Bud York said the agency will likely need 12 but only had seven or eight confirmed to accept the part-time positions.
He said there are other full-timers who he understands are weighing retirement and have expressed interest in the positions, though.
The positions are being tailored for retired police officers. The school districts have been setting aside $30,000 per officer per school year, as retired police officers can be paid a maximum of $30,000 annually and still receive their pensions.
The Sheriff’s Office has already contracted with Hadley-Luzerne school district, which had two officers in its building for the final weeks of this year, and is finalizing agreements with the Lake George and North Warren school districts, York said.
School leaders in Queensbury and Bolton are discussing the program with the Sheriff’s Office as well, and Warrensburg has budgeted for two officers for next year but not yet worked out an agreement with the Sheriff’s Office.
The Glens Falls City School District is contracting with the Glens Falls Police Department.
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York said the Sheriff’s Office has not heard from school officials in Johnsburg.
The sheriff said some who reached out about the school positions have taken other jobs, including one going to work as a court security officer. Others, such as a retired officer from Colorado who expressed interest, found that his certification from another state did not transfer, so he would have to go through the regional police academy to be re-certified, York said. He declined to do so, and withdrew from consideration for one of the jobs.
Should the school districts and Sheriff’s Office sign contracts, but the police agency can’t find suitable candidates for the positions, the district is not liable, the sheriff said.
“We are protected in case we can’t come up with the people,” York said.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is still looking to fill out its roster of officers to be assigned to school as well.
Washington County Sheriff Jeff Murphy said his agency believes it will need eight officers for the schools that have signed on in his county and the ones that were in negotiations, and he said he believed there would be enough candidates.
“We’re trying to find people with connections to the district,” he said.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office also plans to hold a 40-hour “school resource officer” training over the summer for those who are hired, with sheriff’s offices in neighboring Warren and Saratoga counties sending their officers as well.