School safety just got stronger: Village police have added another school resource officer to assist Liberty Central School District in an effort to increase safety and security.
In August, Village of Liberty police officer Adam Lake started serving the district full-time as a school resource officer, or SRO. He joins the district’s existing SRO, Devin Brust, in enhancing school safety and providing education and support to students and staff members on a variety of topics, including drug abuse, violence, bullying and theft.
“They’re more than just police officers,” Liberty Middle School Assistant Principal Patrick Sullivan said. According to Mr. Sullivan, who is also the Director of the District Safety Committee, the SROs are here to build positive relationships with students.
For the past five years, one SRO has been serving the district full-time through an intergovernmental agreement between the district and police department. To better support students and staff, Liberty Board of Education members in August agreed to expand the contract to include a second officer.
“The addition of a second school resource officer is a proactive step,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Augustine E. Tornatore said. “The community and I view safety of our students and staff as a top goal.”
The move to add a second security comes as a precaution in light of recent school shootings that have occurred across the United States – and at the request of several school officials and families. The district set aside funds for the additional school resource officer in its budget, which was approved by voters on May. 15.
They may be officers of the law, but that’s just one of the many hats an SRO wears. They are here to connect with students and support them through the good times and not-so-good times.
“They’re mentors and informal counselors, too,” Mr. Sullivan said.
Officer Lake and Brust will alternate their posts at the elementary and secondary campuses on a weekly basis. In addition to running the fifth-grade D.A.R.E programs, they will also consult with the district’s various safety teams and host several staff training throughout the year to ensure that all district employees are prepared to respond to drills, evacuations and emergencies.
“We are grateful for the strong partnership we have with local law enforcement,” Dr. Tornatore said. “Knowing that Chief Scott Kinne and Officers Brust and Lake are focused on our safety allows us to keep our attention on educating our students.”
Officers Lake and Brust will continually seek out opportunities to interact with students – in the lunchroom, classroom or around the town.
Though instances of threatening behavior and breaches of security are rare, the Liberty Central School District would like to continue to proactively take the initiative to improve security measures at all of its school buildings. To that end, the district would like families to know that additional suggestions are always welcomed. For more information about the school resource officer program, please contact your school building’s main office or attend the next school board meeting.