NASRO: Police should be first choice to carry guns in schools
Carefully selected, specially trained school resource officers recommended
April 4, 2013 — HOOVER, Ala. — The National Association of School Resource Officers (www.nasro.org) responded today to a school security plan offered by a National Rifle Association task force by providing its own recommendation regarding armed personnel in schools.
“NASRO recommends that a carefully selected, properly trained school resource officer be the first choice in a person who carries a firearm on a school campus,” said Mo Canady, NASRO executive director. “We understand that funding and other considerations, however, might lead local policy makers to consider other options.”
“School resource officers are very much more than an armed security presence,” Canady continued. “They are fully integrated into the fabric of the school environment and any school would benefit from having one.”
Canady explained that sworn law enforcement officers with the appropriate skills and backgrounds are the most reliable and most secure option for school safety and security. Canady said NASRO recommends that school resource officer (SRO) candidates have unique and specialized skills and characteristics, including:
· Experience working with youth
· Appropriate dispositions and ability to work in team situations
· Strong public speaking and instructional skills
· Appropriate amount of street experience
In addition, Canady recommended that educators be involved in the SRO selection process.
Canady pointed out that because SROs are first sworn law enforcement officers, they have already undergone extensive background checks and testing. To work effectively in school environments, however, SROs require knowledge and skills not provided by typical police training. These include:
· The triad concept of school-based policing (acting as teacher, informal counselor and law enforcer)
· SRO roles and responsibilities
· School law
· Special education
Because NASRO recognizes that funding limitations prevent some schools from employing SROs, the organization is working to increase funding options. For example, NASRO has supported legislation introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) that would make grants available to local governments to place school resource officers in schools in their jurisdictions.
“NASRO will continue to do all it can to support more funding for school resource officers,” Canady said.
NASRO to House committee: Any school can benefit from school resource officer
February 28, 2013 — Washington — Mo Canady, executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO), testified before a House committee yesterday that any school can benefit from a carefully-selected, well-trained school resource officer (SRO).
During a school safety hearing conducted by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Canady asked that all police officers stationed in schools receive specialized training.
“I certainly know the benefits of an SRO,” Canady said. “And I believe any school could benefit from one, again, if they’re properly selected and properly trained.”
After the hearing, Canady said NASRO does not support increasing police presence in schools for its own sake. “Placing police officers in schools without specific training will not work,” Canady explained. “Schools must have a plan and the best plans include properly trained law enforcement officers.”
Responding to a question about school violence prevention, Canady testified that the most important issue is developing trusted relationships, especially between students and adults. “You can get more information from a student when you have a positive relationship with them than you can in trying to interrogate someone,” Canady told the committee. “So the relationship is huge but also I would add to that the relationship with parents. When the parents trust the SRO, or the school counselor or the school administrator, they’re more willing to share information, which can be very helpful.”
On the issue of arming educators, Canady joined the majority of the panel of witnesses in advising against it. “Our association took a strong stance on that from the beginning and that was we would not favor the wholesale arming of teachers,” Canady testified. He later added that NASRO recognizes that unique situations exist and there is not a one-size-fits-all solution.
More information about NASRO and a research report on the benefits of school resource officer programs is available at www.nasro.org.
NASRO is a not-for-profit organization for school-based law enforcement officers, school administrators and school security/safety professionals working as partners to protect students, school faculty and staff and the schools they attend. NASRO is located in Hoover, Ala. and was established in 1991. For more information, visit www.nasro.org
School-based police organization NASRO applauds president’s school safety proposals
January 16, 2013 — HOOVER, Ala. — The National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) today applauded President Obama’s call for more school resources officers (SROs) in the nation’s schools. According to documents released today by the White House, the administration will give preference to applicants for COPS Hiring Grants who plan to use the grants to hire specially trained SROs. In addition, the White House proposed a new Comprehensive School Safety program, which would give $150 million to school districts and law enforcement agencies to hire SROs, school psychologists, social workers, and counselors.
Quotes from Mo Canady, executive director, NASRO
· “The President’s proposals demonstrate that his administration fully understands the training and role of specially trained, carefully selected school resources officers. The White House proposals are right on target in this regard.”
· “We’re happy that the President’s proposal does not mention armed guards. Instead, it refers only to specially trained school resource officers. There’s been a lot of confusion about armed guards recently and NASRO agrees that SROs are the only armed persons who should work on school campuses. To arm others, especially educators or volunteers, could be a recipe for disaster.”
· “The president is absolutely correct to advocate for a comprehensive emergency management plan for every school. NASRO has helped schools develop such plans for years. We’re ready and eager to help the administration create model plans for schools.”
· School-based police officers (also known as school resource officers) are specially trained, carefully selected, full-time law enforcement officers who work in schools as their primary assignments.
· SROs are much more than armed guards. They develop relationships with students and staff and participate in the education of students.
· SROs enhance, rather than detract from the learning environment. Students learn that the officers are their friends, not someone to fear and they learn that the presence of an SRO does not indicate they are in danger.
· As of January 16, NASRO has received twice as many requests for training as it did in all of January, 2012. NASRO is increasing its training capacity to meet the increased demand.
Jani Spede Public Relations
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