New York City Board of Education

Division of School Safety, Hiring and Certification Processes

The Division of School Safety (DSS) has 3,200 school safety officers (officers) stationed in the Board's schools and central offices. DSS instituted a revised hiring process for officers in November 1994 in response to allegations that DSS officials had elicited bribes from officer candidates in exchange for jobs. DSS requires that its officers be certified as peace officers, which gives them the authority to make warrantless arrests. To become a peace officer, officers must be deputized by the Police Department as special patrolmen, and within one year of deputization, be certified as peace officers by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services. We found DSS had no written procedures or effective controls over its hiring of officers, reducing the assurance that the process was carried out in accordance with management's objectives. DSS needlessly exposed children to risk by assigning newly hired officers to schools before it knew the results of their fingerprint and drug tests. DSS did not consider 2,200 of the 3,300 applications it received for the November 1994 hiring, and considered 67 applications from the previous tainted hiring process. State laws and regulations for the certification of officers as peace officers were not followed. As of September 1995, 1,061 of the 3,200 officers working in tdid not have necessary credentials. DSS agreed with our recommendations and indicated actions planned to implement them. A-10-96