Officer to be assigned to Meco school

The HFM BOCES Board of Education on Wednesday approved an agreement with the Fulton County Sheriff's Department to have a special patrol officer assigned at Meco Elementary School in Gloversville beginning this fall. (The Leader-Herald/Ashley Onyon)

JOHNSTOWN — The Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery BOCES Board of Education on Wednesday approved an agreement with the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department to have a special patrol officer assigned beginning this fall to Meco Elementary School in Gloversville where several BOCES programs are located.

HFM BOCES and the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department began working this year to reach an agreement that would allow a sworn officer to be assigned to the Gloversville Enlarged School District’s Meco Elementary School building where HFM BOCES currently houses four special education classrooms for high school age students and the Foothills PTECH Academy of Health and Medical Sciences.

Although the Meco school is located in Gloversville, it falls under the jurisdiction of the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department.

Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino secured approval from the Fulton County Board of Supervisors to create the special patrol officer position April 8 and the HFM BOCES Board of Education approved a resolution authorizing the exploration of a possible agreement for the officer’s assignment at Meco during the April 17 meeting.

The BOCES board on Wednesday unanimously approved a resolution authorizing Interim District Superintendent Anita Murphy to execute the agreement the district reached with the sheriff for the special patrol officer’s deployment at Meco effective Sept. 1 through June 30.

“I want to thank the staff here for working with the attorneys,” Murphy said introducing the resolution. “Plus the folks in both counties. This was excellent to get this done in this way. I commend their dealings around this issue, it’s an important one.”

Under the approved agreement the county will assign one regularly employed deputy sheriff at Meco to serve HFM BOCES programs. The selected individual must have specialized training to work with youths at school sites and will undergo up to five days of orientation and training sessions with HFM BOCES administrators and sheriff’s officials between July 1 and Aug. 30.

The officer will be present on the school campus on days when the building is open from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. HFM BOCES will pay for the officer’s services at a per diem rate between $17.09 per hour and $21.62 per hour. The district will also be responsible for the cost of benefits and for any uniforms or equipment necessary for the individual to carry out their duties.

Additionally, the agreement states that the special patrol officer “will maintain a presence in the HFM BOCES programs with a focus on creating a peaceful and safe learning environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors by proactively working to eliminate safety threats, school related crime and disorder, and by working to enhance the quality of life of members of the school community.”

The agreement notes that the officer will not act as a student disciplinarian, as that is the responsibility of the school principal and staff, although the officer may share information regarding any situations or incidents with staff members.

The officer will also be asked to make presentation to students, faculty and staff, officials, parents and the community on violence prevention, substance abuse, social issues, crime prevention, conflict resolution, school safety and other community policing issues that may benefit school safety, students and the community.

These actions will support the officer’s “function as a resource to the school community, including staff, students and their families for collaborative problem solving and the encouragement of information-sharing to increase safety and security in the school and community.”

The HFM BOCES Board of Education on Wednesday also approved a resolution authorizing Murphy to execute an agreement with the Gloversville Police Department for the assignment of a uniformed police officer to the HFM BOCES summer school session at Gloversville High School effective July 8 through Aug. 14.

The officer will be assigned to the high school campus during instructional sessions when the building is open from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and during scheduled Regents exams on Aug. 13 and 14 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. HFM BOCES will pay the police department to cover the officer’s salary at an hourly rate of $28.94.

HFM BOCES Deputy Superintendent Lorraine Hohenforst noted to the board that Gloversville High School is located in the Gloversville Police Department’s jurisdiction leading to the separate agreements with each of the law enforcement agencies for the assignment of officers at each program location.