Oneida County Board of Legislators approves public safety resolutions
UTICA — The Oneida County Board of Legislators approved resolutions related to public safety in the county at its Wednesday, March 8 meeting.
Whitesboro Schools Patrol Officers
The Oneida County Sheriff’s Office will be providing seven Special Patrol Officers to the Whitesboro Central School District.
In a letter from Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol to County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr., Maciol said the officers will be utilized in the school’s seven buildings “to increase law enforcement presence, to decrease the number of incidents at the school, and to ensure building safety and security measures are in place and are followed by students, staff, parents and other visitors.”
The Whitesboro school district will reimburse the county for the cost of this agreement, which costs $312,440.10. The agreement will be in place from Sept. 1, 2022, to Aug. 31, 2023.
In December 2022, the board of legislators approved the creation of 15 new Special Patrol Officer positions to staff local schools after school districts like Vernon-Verona-Sherrill, Clinton, Holland Patent, Remsen and Madison-Oneida BOCES requested more officers because of the school shootings that occurred across the country in 2022.
The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services has awarded the county’s District Attorney office $50,000 to support local anti-violence community organizations to prevent violence before it happens.
The county received the funding through the state’s Anti-Violence Initiative Grant Program, and the board of legislators approved the grant at its March 8 meeting.
In a letter to Picente, county District Attorney Scott D. McNamara said that the money would be used to help local non-profit groups stop violence before it happens.
One such program is Wilson’s Cops and Kids, where youths ages eight to 18 learn what to do in the boxing ring and also what to do outside of the ring. Coaches and officers in the Utica Police Department teach youths the fundamentals of boxing with the aim of keeping children and young adults away from crime and violence.
The program is a nonprofit and needs equipment like boxing gloves, helmets, mouth guards and punching bags in order to operate.
Hoops and Dreams is a program that uses basketball to teach Utica’s youth life lessons and to reduce violence in the city. It was founded by the late Patrick Johnson, a well-known anti-violence activist in Utica.
The Study Buddy Club is run by Cassandra Harris-Lockwood’s For the Good Inc. and Hamilton College. It pairs Hamilton College student volunteers with at-risk youth for mentoring, academic tutoring, educational activities and college preparation.
In October 2022, Harris-Lockwood spoke at a Board of Legislators meeting and asked for funding for the Study Buddy program and other violence prevention programs.
With this grant, the county will be able to provide funding for equipment, school supplies, shirts and uniforms, transportation and travel, program staffing, and food for participants in these programs and others like them.
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