ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Citing the shooting at Franklin High School from January 5th, Rochester Mayor Malik Evans renewed the State of Emergency over gun violence once again. This is now entering the 7th month Rochesterians have been under a State of Emergency in this capacity.

The Mayor’s order will remain in effect through February 14th, at which point he has the option to renew for another 30-days.

This week Rochester City Council will vote on whether to approve a plan which would help facilitate additional officers outside of some schools. To clarify, this would not entail the return of School Resource Officers, but rather allow for the funding of overtime it would require to maintain increased patrols outside of some schools for arrival and dismissal.

“The school district out of concern has asked if we can have some presence so we’re doing the best we can to accommodate them. I’m not going to lie, it’s a burden, it’s on overtime. With the staffing as we have it it definitely has an impact,” says Rochester Police Chief David Smith.

Short-term plans of having Rochester Police officers at certain schools for arrival and dismissal are in effect. This was a direct response to a shooting which occurred by the entrance at Franklin High School on January 5th.

During last Thursday’s City committee meeting on public safety, there were some heated disagreements about approving funding to make that happen.

“Stationing police outside of a school is kind of like plugging a dam and I don’t know if it will be effective for the amount of money that is being spent and I want to know what the plan is both for the city and for the school district to keep kids safe,” said Mary Lupien, East District Councilmember, one of three votes against the measure during Thursday’s committee meeting.

“I think any of the conversations about whether it’s good, whether it’s bad, that’s a conversation we can have in the future. The school district asked us to assist them. Their board passed it first. All we’re doing is responding to the request,” Mayor Malik Evans responded during the council committee meeting.

Smith explained during that meeting it would cost about $84 per officer per hour due to the overtime situation. RPD remains severely understaffed with about 70 open positions, even with more than 20 officers currently in the academy, according to Smith.

“You could hand me the money tomorrow to have 12 school resource officers and the reality is we couldn’t do it, because I have to have ‘x’ number of officers to answer 911 calls. Everything else after that is a “nice-to-have” and then we have to prioritize our “nice-to-haves”. So again you could give me the money tomorrow if there was a change in the winds and I still wouldn’t be able to do school resource officers,” Smith says.

The Police Chief has said he’s in support of brining back SRO’s, but it may look different than the previous program, which dissolved in 2019. The School Board President is not in support of bringing back School Resource Officers. Board member James Patterson spoke with News8 on Tuesday, stating he is hoping to gain insight from students, directly, about their feelings on SRO’s.

“Let’s take a poll. Why haven’t we taken relative to our students to see exactly…that’ll speak volumes; not parents because they’re not in the schools every day learning. Take a poll from the students. I’m going to be pushing for that too, or requesting my colleagues, I should say, respectfully,” Patterson says.

On Thursday, City Council will host a “Speak-to-Council” session where any public community member can address the council on any topic on the agenda, or otherwise. It is required to sign up ahead of time.

According to the City of Rochester’s website, speakers can sign up by calling 585-428-7538 or 585-428-7421 or emailing council@cityofrochester.gov. If you cannot participant in person, you may share comments via email or mail. The comments are shared with the Council but are not read into the record during Speak to Council.

Participants must include their first and last name, mailing address, phone number, and the Introductory Number they are commenting on.