Manlius (WSYR-TV) - With budgets tight, many schools aren’t adding school resource officer positions to their payrolls.
But Fayetteville-Manlius is wrapping up its first week with a police officer in its high school, something they’ve never had before. This past week was Officer Ben Lesperance’s first on the school’s grounds.
Students have had the chance to get to know Lesperance and why he’s at the school in the first place.
Lesperance isn’t identifiable by a distinctive police officer’s uniform, instead he wears a suit and tie.
“The first couple of days, I was actually in a uniform just to get kids exposed and to let them know, ‘Oh he’s a police officer,’” Lesperance said. “That’s by choice…the school district and the for the police department...it just makes you more approachable.”
There wasn’t a particular event prompting the district to adopt the position.
“Kids are faced with a lot of decisions they have to make, so we felt that a school information resource officer could help us there,” said Fayetteville-Manlius Superintendent Corliss Kaiser.
Like most other districts, F-M went through its budget line-by-line to identify places where money could be re-allocated. One of the elements they wanted to add was the SRO position.
“I was just up in the lunchroom talking with students and hopefully getting into afterschool events to really get exposed on a more personal level than me just as an officer, but I can also be a mentor for them,” Lesperance said.
Lesperance will spend most of his time at the high school. He will occasionally visit the middle school to start getting kids there exposed to him for when they reach high school.