Should New York schools have an armed officer on duty at all times? The New York State Sheriffs’ Association thinks so and the Association President is asking for state leaders to pay for it.

Wayne County Sheriff Barry Virts, President of the New York State Sheriffs’ Association called upon the State Legislature to include funding the 2018 State Budget for at least one armed school officer at every grade school and high school in the state. “This will be an expensive undertaking,” said Virts, “but we owe it to our children, and their parents, to provide a safe place for education to take place. We spend many millions of dollars to protect a relatively small number of judges across the state, as we should. Surely we can also find the money to protect our most defenseless people – the children we send off to school each day."

The Sheriffs’ Association estimates the cost would be equivalent to adding one teacher to each of these schools. “The only way to assure that every student has the protection of an armed officer in close proximity is for the state to provide a reliable funding stream. Many school districts and local governments are unable to do it due to tax caps and limited funding sources,” Sheriff Virts added.

"Sadly, many times when law enforcement arrives at the scene of a school shooting, everything is over and all the police officers can do is help the survivors," said Washington County Sheriff Jeff Murphy, who is a strong advocate for armed officers in schools. "With an armed officer on duty in the school, such an attack may be deterred, or at least terminated quickly and hopefully without loss of life.”

Sheriff Murphy and Warren County Sheriff Bud York, support the use of retired law enforcement officers. “Any of these would be better than nothing,” said Sheriff Virts. “Most Sheriffs feel the BEST solution is to assign officers to the schools who would have the freedom to move about the campus, “network” with students and staff, and either head off an incident before it happens or at least be there on scene to immediately respond.”

Do you agree? Should all schools have an armed officer on duty?