WOLCOTT, N.Y. — The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office is trying to juggle increased requests for school resource officers with a deputy shortage.

This year, there were more than 2,100 incidents across the county's school districts where resource officer assistance was needed, with more than 3,100 instances of help.

At North Rose-Wolcott Central School District, Deputy Rob Mansell’s job isn’t just about security.

“Not only does he work to build relationships with our students and our families, but also with our school staff," said Principal Crystal Rupp at the North Rose-Wolcott Middle School.

As a school resource officer, those relationships are important.

“You never know what you’re going to get," said Mansell. "We wear multiple hats inside here. One minute I’m a sheriff’s deputy, the next I’m a counselor, a parent.”

The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office says there’s a high demand for SROs right now.

“I know when parents are dropping off their kids, picking them up, they like the presence of Deputy Mansell here," Rupp said. "I think it just provides that additional security to know an officer is in the building in case something were to happen.”

But for the time being, requests for officers, or additional officers in some cases, have to remain unfulfilled.

“At this point, the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office just doesn’t have the staff to fulfill all those requests right now, as well as maintain our road patrol coverage," said Wayne County Sheriff Rob Milby.

There are currently eight school resource officers across Wayne County, but Sheriff Milby says recruitment is underway to hopefully bring that number to 15.

“We’re positioned to put another 12 to 13 in our academy next year, pretty confident by this time next year we’ll be able to fulfill all those requests,” Milby said.

For many, like sixth-grader Carter Egnor, that’s a good thing.

“He makes me feel safe because of dangerous stuff," said Egnor. "Officers, they can help you and they’re trained for stuff like that.”

Last year, he brought in a mug and framed photo to show his appreciation to Deputy Mansell.

“He’s funny, and he’s good with kids and stuff," Egnor said. "In the lunchroom, he’ll joke with us sometimes.”

It’s those positive interactions that Deputy Mansell lives for.

“The positive interactions," Mansell said. "Today in this world, we’re not looked upon very well. And to actually have good interactions, we can change the perspective out there.”

Because trust and safety go hand-in-hand.

“I want these families to know when they send their children off to these buildings, there’s someone here to make sure they’re coming home at the end of the day," said Mansell.

Of Wayne County's 11 school districts, only three stationed a school resource officer in each of their schools.

North-Rose Wolcott Central School District has the most with all three of its schools having an SRO.

Red Creek and Williamson BOCES each have one officer. Wayne, Sodus, Lyons and Clyde-Savannah have a single officer stationed in half of their school buildings. 

The Newark Central School District has one deputy for five buildings.   

Gananda, Marion, and Palmyra-Macedon do not have any school resource officers on their campuses.