Schools around the nation can’t find enough resource officers
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IRMO, SC – Many employment sectors are struggling to hire people right now, and school resource officers, or SROs, are no different.
Schools across the country are struggling to find people to protect students. South Carolina’s Lexington-Richland School District 5 didn’t have enough deputies to cover four schools, so the district is using a private security company to pay for it.
“We recognize that they don’t have full SRO training, but I would rather have armed security than arm someone there,” said district superintendent Dr. Akil Ross.
Why is private security not as ideal as SROs? Superintendent Ross says SROs come through. Special training Working with children.
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“How to deal with stress, how to deal with social-emotional issues. And working with these students,” Ross said.
School districts in states like Oregon, New Mexico, Tennessee and Georgia reported SRO shortages at some point this year. Local law enforcement agencies, in general, are struggling. Hire new officers.. The National Association of School Resource Officers says local agencies are where most SROs come from.
“These are experienced officers who volunteer for these assignments. Just like an officer would volunteer for a detective,” said NASRO Executive Director Moe Kennedy, who served as an SRO in Alabama. Spent 12 years overseeing the program.
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Kennedy called the job crisis unprecedented. He encourages one. Current SRO Consider talking to your colleagues.
“SROs can be some of the best recruiters of their fellow officers,” he said.
Police aren’t seen in a positive light, Kennedy says, which can lead to fewer of them. Superintendent Ross is ready to deal with the SRO shortage in the long term.
The Uvalde police officer placed the gunman in his rifle position before entering the school but did not fire, the report said.
“If I have to go with private security, if I have to go with the troops, I want to do whatever I want to do,” Ross said.
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Ross says the district is committed to spending millions of dollars hardening its campus, which means edging entrances and exits, and installing metal detectors.