Grant weighed for officer at city schools

GLOVERSVILLE – City police hope to receive a federal grant to pay for an officer who would serve as a liaison between police and the Gloversville Enlarged School District.

Police Chief Donald VanDeusen appeared before the Board of Education and the city council Tuesday to request their approval to apply for a grant through the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.

The school board approved the application. The city council may vote at a June 24 meeting.

COPS is an office of the U.S. Department of Justice that supports community policing. COPS shares information and provides grants to police departments around the United States.

According to VanDeusen, a grant from COPS would allow the city police force to hire a school resource officer to “bridge the gap” between the school and law enforcement. The officer would act as a role model and have a presence in the schools, VanDeusen said.

The officer would work Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on school days. The officer would be assigned to patrol duties when school is not in session. The officer would be in uniform at the school and on the streets.

The grant, if awarded, would pay for 75 percent of the cost for the officer for three years. The school district and city would pay for 25 percent of the cost for three years and split the full cost in years four and five, after the grant has expired.

The officer’s pay and fringe benefits would total $75,060 in 2015. The combined city and school cost would be $18,765 that year. The cost for salary and benefits would increase to $92,254 in 2016, and the local cost would be $23,063.

The grant application would need to be approved by the city council and the school board.

A committee consisting of police, the superintendent and members of the school district would appoint the officer.

“We’ve been talking on or off for the last year, and previous districts I worked with had a resource officer,” Superintendent Mike Vanyo said. “It can be very beneficial. We have a strong relationship with the Gloversville Police Department.”

VanDeusen was confident the department would receive the grant.

During VanDeusen’s presentation to the council Tuesday, Gloversville 5th Ward Supervisor Jay Zarrelli said, “It would be nice to have a police presence in the school.”

Reporter Michael Anich contributed to this report.