OACSD adds school resource officers to protect elementary school students

Published: Sep. 16, 2022 at 8:13 PM EDT
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OWEGO (WBNG) - Classes for Owego Apalachin Central School District students kicked off Sept. 7.

As they continue with the first month of school, 12 News caught up with one of the school resource officers and the local police chief to learn more about the SRO role in this specific district.

Within the halls of each district school, OPD officers can be found on a full-time basis. Chief Joseph Kennedy said by having the SRO as a full-time role, it allows the officers to be seen and available at a moment’s notice, which could help deter any threat of any kind.

When it comes to SRO staffing this school year, there’s been a focus on elementary schools. “Both elementary schools, one inside the village and outside the village,” said Chief Kennedy. “Currently the one outside the village, we’re staffing with two members of our department. They’re splitting time in that school. We have a full-time officer in the local elementary here. We’ll be having a full-time officer starting in the other elementary in November.”

The chief said to finalize plans like this and discuss budget talks for the role, the school board, superintendent, and other members of the schools help to bring the vision to light.

12 News also heard from School Resource Officer Jeff Wasyln for the high school and middle school building. During the one-on-one talk, he talked about his role. “Previously, I would go from the high school and the middle school to the elementary schools,” said Wasyln. “Now, I don’t need to as much. We can collaborate a little bit and they’re there all the time also... It’s walking around and making sure doors are locked and check to see if there’s anything from overnight. Then it’s meeting with the kids and talking with the kids and making sure that everything is running smoothly and everything is safe for the day.”

The chief said to be a SRO, the department looks for someone with prior experience, not someone fresh from the academy.