SARATOGA SPRINGS —
At Monday night’s security forum, NYSIR made the recommendation to add one more SRO at Maple Avenue Middle School. One more for the entire district.
“This would mean that 6 of the 8 schools would be left defenseless if an active assailant presented on campus. The average police response time to nonpolice initiated calls in the city of Saratoga Springs is 7.7 minutes,” said the press release.
“I don’t carry a weapon here anymore, not allowed to, it would be against the law,” said Mark Leffler, who after 28 years with the Saratoga Springs Police Department joined the district staff in August.
“I feel that we are less safe now than we were.” John Catone, the city’s assistant police chief, also said the district’s schools were less safe without armed monitors.
For years the district employed former police officers as monitors who carried concealed weapons, but that practice was ended in the spring after district officials determined it was out of line with state law. The school board this fall voted against authorizing the monitors to again carry firearms.
“I think you are less safe now, because to me it was an overreaction to a problem that didn’t exist,” Catone said of disarming the grounds monitors. Asked about the assessment from Leffler and Catone that the schools are less safe now than when the monitors were armed, Patton said, "That’s their opinion.”