Police suggest arming resource officers, not teachers to increase school safety

01/17/2013 05:01 PM

Police and security experts told lawmakers Thursday that Kentucky needs to tighten its monitoring of school buildings and rely on armed resource officers — not teachers — to keep students safe.

“Who’s going to fight for these kids when an attack is imminent? You can run and hide, but if no one is armed, it’s going to be a loss,” Alex Payne, a retired sergeant with the Kentucky State Police told the House Special Subcommittee on School Safety Issues.

Payne and Mark Filburn, a retired lieutenant with the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department, recommended that Kentucky schools:

  • Hire armed resource officers
  • Limit the access points to route visitors through the office
  • Practice lock down procedures
  • Keep doors locked, install buzzers for visitors and put up security cameras
  • And make sure security cameras monitor parking lots

Filburn said school officials have a limited time to react to someone suspicious. “The golden clock is ticking,” he said. And the right security cameras and locked doors can add precious seconds or minutes to implement lock-down procedures.

The costs of implementing those safety measures wasn’t given but the two legislators who are active teachers — Reps. Derrick Graham, D-Frankfort, and John “Bam” Carney, R-Campbellsville — said every school won’t be able to afford its own resource officer.

Jon Akers, director of the Kentucky Center for School Safety, told lawmakers that schools can tighten their safety procedures now for free by having drills for fires, lock-downs, earthquakes and severe weather and working with local law enforcement on those drills.

The subcommittee will hold its next meeting Friday, Jan. 25.


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