NY county approves arming probation officers, pending policy

County supervisors approved a tentative proposal to arm probation officers, though the firearms policy is still in the works


By C1 Staff

FORT EDWARD, NY — Probation officers in Washington County could soon be carrying weapons on the job, pending approval of a firearms policy.

The Post Star reports that county supervisors approved a tentative proposal to arm probation officers, though the firearms policy is still in the works.

Some parts of the policy’s current form were questioned during the most recent supervisor meeting, including a section that would allow probation officers to decide whether or not they wanted to remain armed inside the probation department building.

If they were unarmed, the firearms would be required to be stored in a locker. They would still be loaded and within a holster.

Anthony White, head of the probation department, said this would be to eliminate as much time as necessary if a probation officer needed to leave the building.

All officers are trained and certified to carry weapons on the job as part of the hiring process. They are re-certified annually.

Probation officers in Washington County have been armed with pepper spray for the past five years, which White reports they have never had to use.

The insurance cost for each weapon would be $2,200, which is higher than the expected $100.

Final approval of the policy was defeated with a split vote, and the Public Safety Committee meets again Jan. 27.

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