School safety a focus as students return in Schenectady

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Students are returning to school in Schenectady, where debates about school resource officers took center stage before the summer break.  

​​Superintendent Anibal Soler says the district only has three officers right now. He says that’s the same number of officers it had before the end of the school year. Two of them are at the high school, and a sergeant floats between campuses. 

In May, the city school board gave the green light to put more officers in city schools. 

At that time, we were all calling these officers school resource officers. However, Soler says that’s not what the district will call them.

“We call them community engagement officers,” he said. “They’re not uniformed like traditional police officers that would be in other settings. We have been taking some calculated approaches and been making sure this is a new relationship, a redefined relationship with our students, our community and law enforcement.”

The superintendent added that having three officers still is intentional. He says they are recruiting, but they want to make sure the right officers are in the building – those who want to work with the youth – and those who want to be at the front line of this type of work.