July 17, 2018 -- As part of his ongoing commitment to saving taxpayers money through Shared Services, County Executive George Latimer has authorized the Westchester County Police Department to provide School Resource Officers to the Lakeland, Somers and Hendrick Hudson school districts.

Under separate contracts for police services, the school districts will pay the cost of the officers’ salaries and benefits during the school year, while the County will assume those costs during the summer months.

Latimer noted that the school districts will be able to enhance school security and student safety during the school year, by having five new SROs in their buildings. The County will then benefit when the officers become available to patrol County parks in the summer.

Latimer said: “The school districts will have these officers when they need them, and the County will have these officers when we most need them. It’s a great fit for everyone involved.”

Latimer said the County always adds additional officers to its parks in the summer, when usage soars at Westchester’s parks, pools and beaches. By having these School Resource Officers available for park patrols when school is out, the County will be better able to control its summer overtime costs.

“Through this shared service, we will make students safer, and our parks will be safer at a more efficient cost,” Latimer said.

The new SROs for Lakeland, Somers and Hendrick Hudson would begin in the fall of 2018, pending approval of the new contracts by the Board of Legislators.

Westchester County Police already provide two SROs to Somers and one each in the Lakeland and North Salem school districts under existing contracts. Under the expanded program, the number of SROs will increase as follows:

  • In Somers, the number of SROs will increase from two officers to four;

  • In Lakeland, the number of SROs at schools in Cortlandt will increase from one to two;

  • In Hendrick Hudson, the district is contracting for an SRO with the County for the first time.

The expanded program comes after school district officials approached the County officials following the tragic school shooting in February at Stoneham Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Acting Commissioner Martin J. McGlynn of the Department of Public Safety said SROs can help prevent tragedies by fostering relationships with students and staff, while creating a safer environment within the schools.

McGlynn said: “School Resource Officers maintain a visible presence at school buildings and grounds and provide a broad range of services to educators and students. They work in collaboration with school administrators to provide a safe and secure environment for everyone.”

McGlynn said School Resource Officers assist administrators in developing school security and emergency response plans, participate in lockdown drills, monitor hallways and parking areas, help screen visitors, perform security checks on exterior doors, direct traffic when needed and provide security at school and sporting events that draw large crowds.

SROs also provide student referrals to youth agencies and programs, participate in community-based drug and alcohol prevention programs, prevent or address bullying, and work with teachers to educate students about the dangers of underage drinking, drug abuse, driving while intoxicated, cyber bullying and sexting.

McGlynn said County police are proud of the work being done, and the relationships it has established in the Lakeland, North Salem and Somers school districts. He said the Department looks forward to building the same trust with the Hendrick Hudson school community. 

“We have a great partnership with the school districts where we have the privilege of serving as SROs,” McGlynn said.