TIOGA — Only weeks after expressing interest in discussing the addition of a school resource officer (SRO) to the district’s ranks, the Tioga Central School Board on Wednesday hosted representatives of KST consultants, a security services agency that provides SROs to Bainbridge-Guilford and Chenango Forks school districts.
The presentation came after school board members wanted to learn more about what an SRO brought to the district and what those services would look like.
“We’re not offering a security guard,” said KST Head Security Consultant Nelson Torres. “What we want to offer is interactive. We work with local law enforcement, social workers, school nurses, safety teams, administrators, principals — and that’s what we do. We emphasize working in the schools — getting to know the students.”
Torres explained that all of KST’s officials are seasoned, retired police officers with a wealth of experience and training.
“All of our SROs are nationally certified,” he said. “Part of our business bio is that you have to be nationally certified to be an SRO by the National Association of School Resource Officers.”
Torres said the SRO would become a part of all of the district’s safety teams, become familiar with all of the district’s cameras and stock every classroom with a trauma bag. SROs can also assist district staff on house calls for issues such as truancy.
According to Torres, the main goals of the SRO would be:
• To provide a safe environment
• To develop relationships
• To provide safety and security
• To conduct classroom presentations.
Additionally, the SRO is always armed via concealed carry, Torres noted.
“As retired police officers, we can legally carry in all states,” he said.
Torres added that the cost of an SRO to the district would be $60,000.
The SRO for the Bainbridge-Guilford Central School District, Dan Demer, was also on hand to tell board members about his typical day of work as an SRO, and his firearm was quickly brought up as a question.
“It’s really a nonissue,” he said. “The kids know it’s there. I’m honest with them about it. Majority of the time they’ll never see it.”
Demer explained that he makes it a point to meet the kids as they arrive at the school in the morning and leave in the afternoon, and he consistently checks with teachers and principals to keep tabs on the safety of the school.
“One thing we don’t get involved in is the discipline of students,” he said. “That’s not what we’re there for. We’re there for safety. When it comes to discipline, that’s something that the school administrators handle as usual.”
No formal action was made following the presentation of the SRO as board members will take the information under consideration.