August 11, 2015—The Board of Education approved the appointment of Mark Charette and Drew Rentz to serve as part-time school safety officers for the district at its August 5 business meeting.
Charette, who was serving as a member of the Board of Education, resigned from the position to apply for the safety officer job. He has been a corrections officer with the Albany County Sheriff’s Office for the past 17 years, and is a longtime resident of Cohoes.
Rentz, who is a resident of nearby Latham, is a retired New York state-certified police officer with 11 years serving on the police forces of Menands, Green Island and Watervliet.
The two will be stationed primarily at Cohoes High School, and work with the school district to promote student safety.
The concept of school safety officers (employed by the district) and school resource officers (employed by the local police department) has been present in schools since the 1950s. The district’s school safety officers are present for three main reasons:
First, they are is there to provide a law enforcement presence. By being visible to prevent problems and monitor the premises, the officer on duty provides a safe learning environment.
The second part of their job is to serve as a resource for faculty and staff on a variety of topics, including the law, drugs, safety, crime prevention, violence prevention, and community awareness of these issues.
Third, the school safety officers are available to offer advice, mediation and direction to students, parents, faculty and staff in various matters. They can also help mitigate and deescalate conflicts.
“Mark and Drew are valuable additions to improving student safety in the district,” said Superintendent Jennifer Spring. “They will help bridge the gap between students, the police and the community by building a bond between our youth and law enforcement that considers understanding from both parties.”
She added, “The safety of our students is paramount to their learning success and to becoming better citizens who add value and enrich our Cohoes community.”
The school safety officers will not be on tandem duty, but rather alternate days on campus.