A Hudson Valley Sheriff is among a large group calling for armed officers at every school.

On Thursday, the New York State Sheriffs’ Association called upon the State Legislature to include in the 2018 State Budget funding to provide at least one armed school resource officer at every grade school and high school in the state.

“Placing SRO’s in our schools would provide a solution to protect precious lives and interrupt criminals who want to commit acts of violence,” Orange County Sheriff Carl E. DuBois said in a press release.

According to the Sheriff’s Association, there are about 4,750 public schools and nearly 2,000 private schools in the state. Adding an armed school resource officer to each school would roughly cost the same as adding one teacher to each school.

“This will be an expensive undertaking,” Wayne County Sheriff Barry Virts, President of the New York State Sheriffs’ Association, said. “But we owe it to our children, and their parents, to provide a safe place for education to take place.”

The number of school resource officers has dropped in recent years due to the lack of local funding, according to the Sheriffs' Association.

“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,” Virts said.

The Sheriffs’ Association understands there are many ways to keep children safe. Each school district and law enforcement agency would have to figure out what works best for their district, officials say.

Other plans include stationing an armed security officer at a single school entry point or using retired law enforcement officers as an economical way of getting well-trained armed officers into schools.

“Any of these would be better than nothing,” Virts said in a press release. “Most Sheriffs feel the BEST solution is to assign active deputy sheriffs or other active police officers to the schools as SROs who would have the freedom to move about the campus, “network” with students and staff, and either head off an incident before it happens or at least be there on scene to immediately respond.”

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