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City Council votes yes on police overtime for Rochester school monitoring

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Rochester City Councilmembers Willie Lightfoot and LaShay Harris voted in favor of legislation authorizing RPD officers to be compensated overtime costs for monitoring some city schools for the remainder of the academic year.

Rochester police officers will receive overtime pay for monitoring some city schools for the rest of the school year.

This comes weeks after three students were within close range of an attempted shooting at the doorstep of Franklin High School.

City Council approved the measure in an 8-to-1 vote on Tuesday, with Councilmember Stanley Martin the sole “no” vote.

Martin was one of the lead organizers of the Black Lives Matter protests that took place in the city throughout 2020, over the killing of George Floyd, and later in response to the release of body cam footage of Daniel Prude’s arrest. Prude, a Black man, died a week after he was restrained by Rochester police.

Martin said she’s concerned that officers with records of excessive force may end up on patrol duty outside of schools, and she wants badge numbers and names shared with principals and the public.

“I'm hopeful that there will be other solutions that address the root causes and that parents and teachers will be able to know who was outside their schools and who's interacting with their children,” Martin said.

The Rochester City School District will pay up to $336,000 in overtime costs to officers stationed outside of five schools for two four-hour shifts on school days.
Tuesday’s vote finalizes the agreement between the district, City Council, and the Rochester Police Department.

“Students need to be safe. Staff needs to be safe. ...Any family member to come and pick up their children need(s) to be safe,” said Councilmember LaShay Harris. “The Rochester Police Department provides that safe space for our families who are supporting their students while they receive education in our city.”

Council Vice President Mary Lupien voted in favor but said other changes will need to happen within the district to increase school safety.

“Like increasing Pathways to Peace (officers), increasing the SSOs (security officers) that are in the school. Because the reality is these beefs are starting and they follow the kids home,” Lupien said.

“So they may be safe at school, at least coming into school. But when they go home, these arguments, these situations can follow them and they can unfortunately get shot somewhere else.”

Since August, multiple students have been shot in various parts of the city. Some of the shootings were fatal, including the killing of 12-year-old Juan Lopez, in his neighborhood just days before Thanksgiving.

Noelle E. C. Evans is an education reporter/producer with a background in documentary filmmaking and education.