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F-M Board of Education votes to hire school resource officer

Mims said the idea to hire an SRO has come before the school board a number of times before, and was brought up again when Jeff Brown was elected to the school board last spring.

“I had just heard anecdotal evidence that there’s issues of crime, drugs, that type of thing, in our schools,” said Brown, who has two young children in the district. “I felt strongly that we should take another look at [hiring an SRO].”

“I think it’s a great development, it’s overdue, and I think we’re moving in the right direction,” he added

The taskforce met four times during November and early December and heard from district officials and safety and security experts.

On Nov. 28, J.M. Cassalia and Associates conducted a preliminary security assessment focusing on the high school and recommended that the district centralize safety and security under one entity, as multiple staff members are currently responsible for various safety and security aspects. Hiring an SRO would fulfill that recommendation.

A recent survey conducted by the F-M administration found that approximately 40 percent of Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES school districts employ SROs, and only five of those districts have populations at or exceeding the number of students at F-M High School. Only two districts with a population substantially less than F-M employ an SRO.

Manlius Town Supervisor Ed Theobald spoke prior to the vote about the positive impact SROs have had in the East Syracuse-Minoa District, which is staffed with two Manlius police officers.

“One of the things that I’ve noticed over the years with the SRO at ESM is that they really are resource officers,” Theobald said. “They’re more than just a cop with a gun, they are confidants to the students.”

Taskforce member Jennifer Brady — a parent of two Wellwood Middle School students, three Mott Road Elementary students and one preschooler — voiced her support as well.

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