Feb. 16, 2018 – WASHINGTON – During a meeting yesterday at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) called for more funding to place carefully selected, properly trained school resource officers (SROs) in every school in the United States. NASRO executive director Mo Canady made the comments during a “Law Enforcement National Stakeholder Organizational Briefing” hosted by the DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, which scheduled the meeting long before Wednesday’s tragic, mass shooting in a Florida high school.
The DOJ currently provides grants through its Office of Community Oriented Policing Services to help local communities hire school resource officers. In addition, the DOJ’s Office of Justice Programs has a Comprehensive School Safety Initiative that funds research to produce practical knowledge that can improve the safety of schools and students. Canady praised both programs and advocated for their expansion.
“If we are truly interested in keeping students safe at school, we as a nation must fund professional SROs,” Canady said. “There are unfortunately no perfect solutions to the school shooting problem. But SROs — who are sworn law enforcement officers with special training for working in schools — provide a layer of security that cannot be achieved by so-called ‘armed guards,’ who are not sworn officers. SROs build valuable, positive relationships with students, faculty and parents that often enable the SROs to obtain information on planned violent acts before they occur.”
In addition to improving security, SROs bridge gaps between youth and law enforcement, mentor students and serve as guest lecturers in classrooms.
After the meeting, Canady said NASRO knows of a number of cases in which SROs have either stopped school shootings before they happened, or ended them shortly after they began. He also identified several social and cultural issues that can lead to school shootings, including:
- Youth fascination with firearms, which can be tempered by SROs who help students learn more about the dangers and consequences of firearm use and illegal possession.
- Violence desensitization, which led NASRO to add to its SRO basic training coursea module on violence and victimization.
- Social media, which facilitates the sharing of images of graphic violence and pornography and led NASRO to add a social media component to its training.
- Mental health issues, which led NASRO to not only add a module on teenage brain development to its basic SRO course, but also to partner with the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice to create and provide a new course on adolescent mental healthfor SROs and educators.
In addition to more funding for carefully selected, properly trained SROs, NASRO advocates for improved school perimeter security, which involves not just technology, policies and procedures, but also training for all members of the campus community.
NASRO is a nonprofit organization for school-based law enforcement officers, school administrators, and school security and safety professionals working as partners to protect students, school faculty and staff, and the schools they attend. NASRO is located in Hoover, Alabama, and it was established in 1991. For more information, visit www.nasro.org.
Jani Spede Public Relations
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