One of the best security measures any district can employ is a school resource officer (SRO)–a trained police officer assigned to a campus. These officers get to know the campus, the staff, administrators, and students. And if an emergency strikes, the officer is there to immediately help take control of the situation.
There was a perfect example at the end of August. An armed intruder walked onto a high school campus in Tennessee and confronted the principal, pointing a weapon at him. The SRO stepped in between them and began to calm the intruder and move him into an area where he couldn’t harm students or other staff.
As the event began, staff members called 9-1-1 and began a campus lockdown. Two other deputies arrived on campus within minutes. They continued to ask the man to drop his weapons, but finally had to shoot him when he refused and pointed a gun at the deputies.
It’s too bad that fatalities were involved, but the toll may have been much higher if not for the quick action of the SRO.
If your school doesn’t have an SRO assigned to it, I urge you to contact your local law enforcement department and ask for one immediately. Budgets are tight now, but a student resource officer is a tremendous investment in helping to keep our campuses safe for students and staff.
Patrick V. Fiel Sr. is public safety advisor for ADT Security Services and a former executive director of school security for Washington, D.C. Public School System. He also served 22 years in the Army Military Police Corps, where his responsibilities included day-to-day security operations at the West Point Military Academy. During his time with ADT, Fiel has conducted more than 100 television, radio, newspaper, and magazine interviews as a public and school safety expert.
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