Instead of returning to headquarters while on patrol, some Saratoga Springs police officers will be going to school. Our Erin Vannella explains how that convenience could also benefit the students.
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- "I like it," said Saratoga Springs parent Terri Dagle. "I like the idea. I think that makes the police more approachable and maybe children will find them easier to talk to."
Elementary schools and police unite in Saratoga. It's a plan the department and administrators say will deliver safety with a smile.
"It's going to be strictly the police officer and while they're there they can reconnect with the students," said Saratoga Springs Police Chief Christopher Cole.
"When you're looking at security, you're thinking cost, you're thinking bodies and you're thinking cameras," said Saratoga Springs Central School District Superintendent Michael Piccorilli. "This is a cost effective way to add security and a presence in our buildings."
Beginning April 2nd, rather than return to police headquarters, Saratoga patrol officers can visit one of four elementary schools in the city where they can do clerical-type jobs in their own office space. At the same time, they'll provide free added police presence in the hallways.
"We're not going to be bringing anybody into the school," said Cole. "If they want go into a lunch period and sit down with the kids and talk, they're going to be more than welcome to do that."
An armed school resource officer already patrols Saratoga High School and has for years, though some parents say no officer for any grade level would be safer still.
"I think it's a nice outreach for the community and it might be a good resource for the children to have them there, but I'm really feeling uneasy about more guns in our schools," said Saratoga Springs parent Jeannette Liebers.
"We depend on the community and we know the community depends on us, so we have to work together and the only way to work together is to get to know each other and have that trust," said Cole.