The New York State Sheriffs’ Association wants an armed officer in every single school in New York.
They are calling upon the State to include funding in the 2018 budget to provide enough for at least one armed school resource officer (SRO) at every grade school and high school.
“This will be an expensive undertaking,” Wayne County Sheriff Barry Virts, President of the New York State Sheriffs’ Association, said in a statement, “but we owe it to our children, and their parents, to provide a safe place for education to take place.”
— NYSSA (@NYSheriffs) February 22, 2018
The proposal comes on the heels of last week’s deadly mass shooting in Florida that claimed the lives of 17 people.
“We spend many millions of dollars to protect a relatively small number of judges across the state, as we should. Surely we can also find the money to protect our most defenseless people—the children we send off to school each day,” Sheriff Virts continued.
According to the association, there are a total of 4,750 public schools and nearly 2,000 private schools between kindergarten and grade 12 in the state.
The cost of the proposal would be similar to adding one teacher to every school, the association said.
So far this year, there have been 18 gun-related incidents in American schools, according to Business Insider.
Sheriff Virts said the officers will provide an armed police presence to deter possible attackers, while at the same time building strong relationships with the school community. He pointed out that the number of SROs have dropped due to reduced local funding.
WATCH: Alleged Parkland, Florida, school shooter Nikolas Cruz appears in court via videoconference after being charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder https://t.co/MOTlgNa8a0 pic.twitter.com/jS88hGnZCk
— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 15, 2018
Washington County Sheriff Jeff Murphy, a strong advocate for SROs in his county agreed with the sheriff.
“Sadly, many times when law enforcement arrives at the scene of a school shooting, everything is over and all the police officers can do is help the survivors. With an armed officer on duty in the school, such an attack may be deterred, or at least terminated quickly and hopefully without loss of life” Murphy said, according to the news release.
President Donald Trump offered up an alternative and cost-effective solution: training and arming teachers with concealed carry.
“History shows that a school shooting lasts, on average, 3 minutes,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “It takes police & first responders approximately 5 to 8 minutes to get to site of crime. Highly trained, gun adept, teachers/coaches would solve the problem instantly, before police arrive. GREAT DETERRENT!
He added, “If a potential “sicko shooter” knows that a school has a large number of very weapons talented teachers (and others) who will be instantly shooting, the sicko will NEVER attack that school. Cowards won’t go there…problem solved.”
Today, it was my great honor to host a School Safety Roundtable at the @WhiteHouse with State and local leaders, law enforcement officers, and education officials.
There is nothing more important than protecting our children. They deserve to be safe, and we will deliver! pic.twitter.com/WhC2AxgWXO
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 22, 2018