Reed Previews School Resource Officer Bill
Just as students return to school this week, Tom Reed is preparing to return to Washington with a bill ready to make schools safer with more opportunities in School Resource Officer (SRO) programs. Reed said Monday he is finalizing legislation now to put local school districts in a better position to access School Resource Officers and plan for upcoming school years.
“We received a tremendous amount of input from across the district listening to superintendents, teachers, parents, mental health and law enforcement personnel about ways to make schools safer,” Reed said. “From those conversations it was clear more emphasis needed to be placed on giving schools the ability to integrate School Resource Officers into their overall safety plan. From those on the ground every day working with children in schools, we’ve heard nothing but good things about the positive relationships built on respect between SROs and students.”
Reed’s bill will reauthorize the COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) program on a long-term, five-year basis (for Fiscal Years 2015-2019) with prioritization for law enforcement to apply for School Resource Officer grants. Reed said the COPS program was last authorized in 2005 and since then has been funded on an ad hoc basis, leaving many communities without the ability to plan for funding when, and if, it might come from Congress.
“It’s fair and right to give communities certainty that the COPS program will be there for them on a long-term basis,” Reed continued. “Without that certainty many of our schools have no way to improve their district’s safety preparedness plans. Supporting the School Resource Officer program through the COPS program is one way we can all better care for our children.”
Reed has been collecting input over the last year from school districts, former SROs and law enforcement personnel on the best way to go about making the School Resource Officer program more effective and accessible to schools. He says there’s an appetite for this kind of school safety initiative both in Washington and among families across the country.
“Just as our amendment protecting the COPS program passed the House unanimously in May, I’m optimistic there’s strong bipartisan support for the kind of common sense safety measure highlighted in our bill as well. Caring for children and keeping them safe is a something we can all agree needs to be prioritized and School Resource Officers will play a significant role to that end.”