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Liberty School District considers increased security

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Albany/HV: Liberty School District considers increased security
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Following the Newton elementary school shooting, local school districts are considering taking enhanced security precautions. Our Eva McKend has more from the village of Liberty.

LIBERTY, N.Y. -- In the wake of school shootings across the country, like the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, the interim Liberty School District superintendent says the district needs a full time school resource officer.

"We look at the recent events and realize that we have to do everything we can to keep the kids as safe as we can," said interim Liberty Central School District Superintendent Edward Rhine.

He says a full time SRO is the not the catch all or cure for violence in schools, but it makes everyone feel safer and that just by being in the school. These officers are able to form a unique relationship with the students.

"It's important to have a police officer in the building not just for safety, but more importantly, it's so that the children get to see the police officer as a friend," added Rhine.

"There's more to just security and safety of the school, there's a lot of intelligence that comes out of the school. When kids get more comfortable speaking to a police officer, they are more apt to tell police what's going on," said village of Liberty Police Chief Scott Kinne.

The superintendent says the district recently learned it would receive a $30,000 federal grant. The district might use that money to offset the cost of the $90,000 a year position.

He's also asked the village board to keep the school resource officer position in its general fund budget as a mainstay.

The Liberty police chief is also committed to seeing the position become a full time job.

"It's hard to put a price tag on children. Children are our future. Can a cop in a school prevent everything from happening? Absolutely not. But is it a good positive thing for the community? I think it is," said Kinne.

School officials say in the past, there was a full time school resource officer but due to budget cuts and the loss of federal money, changes had to be made. Now, they say they are committed to reinstating that full time position. They'll discuss it further at a school safety meeting next week.

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