On Thursday, Sept. 13, members of the Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Office, including Sheriff Patrick A. Russo, came to Hoosick Falls Central School (HFCS) to visit with the district’s new School Resource Officer (SRO), Deputy Andy Morin. Morin is one of two SROs new to a Rensselaer County school district, as Hoosic Valley also added an SRO to their staff this year.
“The Board of Education recognizes the responsibility to maintain a safe educational environment for Hoosick Falls students and staff,” said Hoosick Falls Board of Education President John Helft. “In response to present-day concerns about school safety, we realized the need for an armed School Resource Officer to help provide that safe space. We welcome Deputy Morin, who has already made a positive difference at HFCS through his dedication to and involvement with the staff and students.”
Deputy Morin’s day starts early, as he gets to the school campus before students start to arrive so he can greet the high school, then elementary students each morning. He can be seen offering high-fives and words of encouragement as the students’ day begins.
“My primary responsibility here is to keep the students and staff of HFCS safe,” stated Morin. “It’s what my training and experience have prepared me to do. I will do whatever I can to uphold that responsibility.”
“It really is a win-win situation for everyone involved,” said Sheriff Russo. “In today’s climate, it is a real plus to have an armed officer on site to protect those in the building. Deputy Morin is not just there for law enforcement, but also to get to know the kids and to act as a type of unofficial counselor. We want him to be someone they can trust to help them when help is needed.”
Deputy Morin knew he wanted to be a police officer at a very young age. “Since I was a kid, I knew this was what I wanted to do,” he said. “I’ve always been intrigued by the many facets to the profession. No day is ever the same and I love that about it.”
Deputy Morin began his law enforcement career with the Troy Housing Authority where he served for 10 years, before becoming a deputy in the Highway Patrol Bureau of the Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Office.
“I’ve always liked kids and have three of my own who are 24, 18, and 15,” he said. “In a more traditional role, a police officer only has contact with kids within negative situations. As an SRO, I have a chance to get to know them and to work with them in more positive settings.”
“As a school, we are constantly making efforts to adjust to the ever-changing world outside,” stated High School Principal Patrick Dailey. “Deputy Morin has already helped us with new technologies, streamlined how we work with local and state agencies, and created a stronger bond with students and the community. He is a welcomed addition to the staff.”
Deputy Morin went through an extensive training program to become an SRO. As well as the ins and outs of juvenile law, the training also covered topics such as presenting in the classroom and ways to de-escalate issues between students before they become larger ones.
“I’ve come to learn that you get more respect out of people when you treat them well,” said Deputy Morin.
“I want the kids to feel comfortable to be themselves and to explore their interests while at school,” he added. “It is a place where kids should feel safe, relaxed, and ready to learn, and I’m here to help create that safe environment.”
Stacy Vadney, high school assistant principal, added, “We have always maintained a safe and orderly school environment by being proactive and handling situations quickly. Having Deputy Morin here has been a great addition that will ensure we continue this momentum as we move forward.”