Massena Central School District still searching for school resource officer

Jan. 13—MASSENA — Although Massena Central signed an agreement with the village in October, district officials are still searching for a school resource officer.

Massena school board members unanimously approved a contract with the village to provide a patrol officer who would serve as school resource officer. Village trustees had approved the annual contract with two modifications the previous week.

The position was included in the district's 2022-23 budget. It was scheduled to run for 10 months, from September to June. When not working as school resource officer, the patrol would serve as a juvenile officer in the community.

A retired law enforcement officer was initially sought for the role. Even with the change to seek a patrol officer, Superintendent Patrick H. Brady said they've had no luck in finding a candidate.

"The search for a school resource offer has proven to be a challenge. The district has worked with the village of Massena over the last year on two separate agreements, one for a retired officer option and the other for employing a full-time officer," he said. "At this time, we have not been able to secure a candidate for either scenario."

Mr. Brady said that, while they don't have a full-time school resource officer, the police department is available for assistance.

"The district will continue to keep its options open going forward and hopefully will be able to employ a school resource officer in the future," he said. "We continue to enjoy great support from the Massena Police Department who often have officers in our schools or on our safety committees. We value this relationship."

Massena Central and the village previously worked jointly on bringing an SRO back to the district through an annual agreement. The district was seeking an active or retired officer to serve as a special patrol officer.

Jody W. Daggett worked from the beginning of the 2019-20 school year until the school closed in March 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Citing potential liability, village officials opted not to renew the contract. Although Mr. Daggett worked in the school district, he was a village police employee .

The village was responsible for setting up the training of the SRO, overseeing their work and purchasing the equipment that was needed for the job. Salary and benefits were paid for through a Title 4 grant.

Prior to that, the district had another SRO — then-patrolman Patrick J. Serguson, whose salary was paid by both the school and the village. That position was abolished in 2007 because the village and district no longer had the funding to sustain it.