NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- The City School District of New Rochelle and the City government have come to terms on a plan to provide a daily armed police presence in and around New Rochelle High School.
“Today, we have reached an agreement with the City of New Rochelle to establish a regular armed police presence at NRHS for the remainder of the school year,” said Schools Superintendent Dr. Brian Osborne in a letter to parents. "Police officers will be assigned to monitor school entrances and to patrol the periphery of the school property.
"This arrangement makes long term the immediate emergency measures we put into place in January, said Osborne.
“The City and the Police are happy to work with the School District to assist with their security needs,” said City Manager Charles B. Strome. He noted that New Rochelle police have been in and around the high school since the stabbing in the building on January 18th.
Under the terms of the deal the District will be invoiced for the cost of posting police officers at the high school.
“The District will be billed separately,“ said Strome. “Money will not come from the New Rochelle Police Department overtime budget.”
Strome said there will be no impact on police presence elsewhere in New Rochelle. Police officers will be on special off duty assignments, just like other special duty assignments, not drawn down from existing manpower elsewhere in the City.
City Council Member Jared Rice said our call to him for comment was the first he had heard about the agreement.
“To the extent that we have NRPD officers in our schools, it is imperative that they are properly trained to work in a school environment,” said Rice. “I am hopeful that this issue can be more fully developed through the Task Force being led by Dr. Brice.“
Osborne cited the recent mass school shooting in Parkland, FL and the fatal stabbing as the motivation for the new agreement which will remain in place until at least the end of the school year.
Osborne cautioned that although there has been progress in enhancing school safety and security, the District still has “a long way to go to modernize and improve.”
UPDATE 2/28 5:15 PM:
At a public meeting of the District-Wide Healthy and Safety Committee, of which this reporter is a member, Strome said the agreement will reduce the police presence at New Rochelle High School by 50% from 3 outside and 1 inside to 1 inside and 1 outside.
At the same meeting, Assistant Superintendent for Business & Administration Jeff White said the "rules of engagement" for police will be the same aa anywhere less in New Rochelle. Strome confirmed that if officers see a criminal act they will make an arrest.
In anticipation that the Joint Task Force on School Violence will recommend the District hire School Resources Officers and that the next training class before September begins in April, Strome the police department will send 5 officers for School Resource Officers for SRO Training.