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West Carthage mayor offers added protection to Carthage Central

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GREAT BEND — Carthage Central Schools may have some added protection soon.

In the wake of the mass shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school, West Carthage Mayor Scott M. Burto offered to have some of the village’s police officers make random stops at the district’s buildings.

“I know you have a resource officer and maybe we can work with him,” Mr. Burto said during Carthage Central’s Board of Education meeting on Monday. “Our board will be more than happy to write a memorandum of understanding.”

District property is beyond the jurisdiction of the village’s police. Mr. Burto recounted an incident over the summer in which a village officer apprehended a person in a school parking lot but had to wait for a state trooper to arrive to make an arrest although the village police station was only a half mile away.

If the request is approved, West Carthage police would be able to respond to emergency calls from district schools.

“This sounds like a great idea,” said Superintendent Peter J. Turner. “We’ll investigate this with our legal counsel.”

He said the district’s former resource officer, Stanley VanZandt, retired as a state trooper and is now referred to as the school safety officer.

Mr. Burto added that the officers could also talk to teachers and students during their rounds. There will be no charge for the service if it is approved.

Several members of the board nodded in approval of the request.

“Our community is coming together,” said board President Barbara A. Lofink.

Assistant Superintendent Andrea K. Miller added the presence of the officers will be an advantage for students because it would help them feel safe around the police due to the added interaction.

“That’s nice that he made the offer,” Mr. Turner said.

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