Thursday, October 12, 2006

Schoolhouse Shootings

It seems everyone is concerned about schoolhouse shootings, and they should rightfully be concerned. School shootings are a fact of life. They are nothing new, having been happening since 1979.

Back in 2001, Sheriff Hilton of Rapides Parish became concerned about school shootings following the Columbine debacle. He got a tax passed and put a deputy in every school in Rapides Parish. This was a wise decision on his part. All of his school deputies are fully qualified law enforcement officers, all certified by the state. Many are members of the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO).

As much as we all bemoan the fact that we need resource officers, it is still a fact that we need those officers in our schools. In the worst case scenario, we have those officers there, trained, dedicated, and determined to thwart the intentions of an active shooter. They routinely train on "what-if" scenarios drawn from real life, focused on the school setting.

The resource officers serve other purposes at the schools, depending on the school served. They act as hall monitors, direct traffic, counsel with students, assist with special needs students, confront intruders, assist in security at events, answer questions, and yes, occasionally make arrests.

There is a difference between serving in an elementary school and a high school, because the kids and the school is different. The beat is different. Not that one is more important than the other, just different. Our children are our future and each one is precious.

Resource officers are community police officers in the great tradition of community policing. They are beat officers who know their beat intimately and understand the population they serve. Because they are attuned to the natural rhythms of the school they are in place to serve the community, on duty, alert, prepared for any eventuality. If the principal needs to call a police officer, he can do it on the intercom, because the officer is all ready there.

It's a great program and we are lucky that Sheriff Hilton had the foresight to implement it.

3 comments:

we saw that... said...

sorry have to disagree with you. sheriff hilton is a scam artist. the tax you mentioned is "in perpetuity" that means that these children (not even born yet) that you claim are so precious to this scam artist will have have to pay this tax with no say about it. thats unamerican. its taxation without representation.

JR said...

That sounds like a very good program for the schools, and a way for the police to gain a positive image with teens.

Do these officers receive any extra training on things like "conflict resolution" and the like? Do they receive additional firearms training above and beyond what is routine for your department? If so, it appears that the community is getting a good deal for the 1/2 cent tax.

Pawpaw said...

Jr. Good question. Since the implementation of the tax, the department has been able to become fully staffed with qualified replacements for the normal personnel losses of a large department.

With full staffing, there is more time for training. All deputies are now required to have 40 hours of professional development per year, rather than the state mandated 24 hours. Conflict resolution is a big part of that training.