Community Education Council 24 will offer a resolution that calls for the hiring of retired NYPD police officers as armed “special patrolmen” to “supplement current unarmed security personnel in NYC public schools” at its next meeting on Jan. 22.
A copy of the resolution, attached to a meeting agenda sent to the Chronicle on Tuesday, also calls on the Department of Education to install buzzer entry and front door video surveillance equipment at all schools; and install “panic buttons” that link directly to NYPD dispatchers.
Nick Comaianni, president of CEC 24, said the resolution is definitely in response to the Dec. 14 school massacre in Newtown, Conn., and is modeled on a similar resolution under consideration on Staten Island.
“What if the principal or the teacher who lunged at that gunman in Connecticut had been armed?” Comaianni asked on Tuesday. “You might not have had as many casualties. Maybe you have only two. Maybe none. We have to look at that scenario.”
Nationally, critics have railed against a proposal by the National Rifle Association to place armed guards in schools. And Comaianni expects that the council may catch some heat.
“But we sat down and talked about it as a council,” he said. “I know as a parent with kids in school I would feel better.”
The draft resolution says the retired officers would not be involved in regular discipline situations at schools, and Comaianni stressed that the weapons would have to be concealed.
“A lot of law enforcement is judgement,” he said. “Retired police officers have been trained to see what might get out of hand.”
He added that the cost would be minimal, as all schools in the city have at least one security officer and some have more.
“If you have two, you have one unarmed security officer and one retired police officer working for the same salary,” he said.
He said panic buttons would require little more technology or equipment than existing school fire alarms; and that most if not all of the schools in District 24 already have some sort of camera array.
“And in a school system that has billions of dollars in its budget, a few million for security is nothing. They spend more on advertising and some programs that just don’t work.