Thanks to a grant secured by former Senator Michael Nozzolio, students and families at Palmyra-Macedon Central School District have the unique experience to interact with local law enforcement.
Schools Superintendent Bob Ike said they first received funding for a school resource officer last year. Before that, the district had never had an officer in any of the school buildings.
This year, the $30,000 grant has been split between three law enforcement agencies in a hybrid program where an officer from Palmyra and Macedon police departments and an available deputy from the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office rotate school days as the resource officer, Ike said.
“Staff, students and families have the opportunity to interact with different officers this way,” the superintendent said. “It’s been great.”
It’s only been three weeks, started on March 1st, since a police presence has been seen in the schools. The program will run through the end of the school year, June 30th. During that time, officers are taking an active part in working with students, teachers and staff inside the classroom and out. Ike said the officers are working with counselors, probation and on truancy. They are in the classrooms teaching kids about careers, offering shadowing opportunities for those interested in police work and talking about safety.The officers can also be found in the lunchroom just sitting and talking with kids.
Ike said the relationships that are being built between students and officers are a value to both parties, bringing clarity and understanding about who they are and what they do. It’s a proactive approach, Ike said, which is what makes it so great.
“I don’t want kids’ experiences with police to be only when they’re in trouble,” he said. “It’s a chance to show kids that police officers are people too.”
Although the program is only on a limited basis, Ike said, as long as there are funding sources out there to continue it, the district will pursue them.
-Tammy Whitacre, FingerLakes1.com