Nearly a dozen Saratoga County sheriff’s deputies will be stationed in school districts across the county at the start of next school year as the county undertakes a new school resource officer program.
In response to widespread concerns from parents and students about school safety and security, which were brought to the fore this spring by a Florida school shooting, Sheriff Michael Zurlo worked with district leaders to find a way to establish the program and get officers into school by the start of the coming school year.
The Saratoga County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved contracts with nine districts, covering 11 resource officers, and authorized the sheriff to hire 11 new road patrol deputies to backfill the more-experienced deputies who will move into the school positions.
“It’s a wave of action that happened nationally, and we want to get ahead of that curve,” said Ed Kinowski, chairman of the county Board of Supervisors. “We want to protect students and their families.”
The nine districts range from some of the biggest in the region to much smaller districts: Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, Corinth, Galway, Mechanicville, Schuylerville, South Glens Falls and Stillwater will each get one officer, while Ballston Spa and Shenendehowa will get two officers.
The districts will pay the county just over $72,000 per school resource officer, covering 75 percent of the cost of the positions, while the county covers the other 25 percent and the officers spend the summers on road patrol. The entry-level patrol deputies will be hired at a starting salary of $52,000.
Zurlo is still working to identify and select which existing deputies will move into the resource officer positions, coordinating with districts to get them picked in time for a school resource officer training program that will be hosted by the Washington County sheriff in July.