GLENVILLE – Scotia-Glenville and Burnt Hill-Ballston Lake school districts will each be getting a school resource officer in January through a shared agreement between the town, its police department and the two school districts.
The announcement Friday afternoon comes after five years of discussions about having the officers and a recommendation within the town’s police reform plan, said Supervisor Chris Koetzle.
“I almost feel like this is a little bit of an early Christmas present for me because this is something near and dear to my heart,” said Glenville Police Chief Steve Janik.
He said the move will allow the Glenville Police Department to have a “concentrated effort” within the districts and enable it to get more involved with students. He said the resource officer will be able to connect with students, help them, protect them and provide insight into what it’s like to be a police officer.
The BH-BL school district lies in both Schenectady and Saratoga counties and in the past has worked with the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department to have a school resource officer in the district, said Superintendent Patrick McGrath. Now, the district will have two officers, one from each department.
He said he’s happy to see officers from both departments coming into the district.
Scotia-Glenville Superintendent Susan Swartz said when she came into the district in 2005 there were two resource officers. However, after the grants supporting those positions ran out the positions were cut.
“We are incredibly excited to be in a position where we are finally able to return a resource officer to the Scotia-Glenville Central School District,” she said.
That school district falls within both the town of Glenville and the village of Scotia.
The cost of the positions is a combined rate of a first year officer at over $79,000 and a senior officer at over $145,000 for 2022. Koetzle said the districts will bear the majority of the costs for the officers, with the town picking up the rest.
That means the two districts will each pay $93,000 apiece and the town will pay a total of $38,000, Koetzle said. Costs for the officers will increase each year based on the police union contract, which is up this year, and the cost of benefits each year. The money for the officers has been added to the town’s 2022 budget.
The superintendents indicated federal funding will help them cover the costs of the officers.
Because two officers will work at the schools, Janik will begin reaching out to people who had previously passed the county’s civil service exam about joining the department.
Police staffing has been an issue across the nation, with many departments stating they are having a hard time hiring officers.
“It may be a little bit of a struggle, but I’m sure that we’ll pull through that,” he said.
He said if hires cannot be made he will have to restructure the department until the positions are filled.
The hope, he said, is to get two people into the police academy in January and have them on the road by October.
Janik said the districts will be involved in helping pick the resource officers, who will be required to take a certification class in order to be appointed. As of Friday afternoon, five officers within the department had applied for the resource officer position.
The Glenville Town Board will vote on its budget in November.