LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Armed, wearing body cameras and body armor. These are just a few of the uniform requirements Jefferson County Public Schools lists for their School Safety Officers.
The Policy Committee reviewed the 12-page manual for SSOs at its Monday evening meeting. It will need board approval, but the job is in jeopardy with a possible change coming to the state school resource officer law.
The board manual is divided into six topics: hiring, trainingdetention or arrest of students by an SSO, equipment, weapons and data communication.
As for weapons handled, “each officer will have a district-issued handgun with two magazines,” said Jonathan Lowe, executive administrator of policy and systems.
Firearms must also remain in their holsters at all times, unless an officer is engaged in activities requiring their use.
As for the hiring process, two new committees would be created. A hiring protocol team, which would make recommendations on how to recruit a racially and ethnically diverse candidate pool. The protocol team would also develop sets of interview questions to assess experience, working with diverse backgrounds, law enforcement in schools, and responses to SSO-based scenarios.
An SSO selection committee would also be created. This committee will help interview candidates and recommend candidates for consideration by the directors.
“Representing a variety of divisions and departments that have a stake in ensuring the right people are selected,” Lowe said.
The manual also outlines when SSOs can and cannot use their firearm. Acceptable use includes using the weapon to defend yourself or others. But a firearm cannot be used as a warning shot or from a moving vehicle. If a firearm is drawn on school property, the administrators must be notified.
“It refers to statutes that allow the use of firearms,” Lowe said.
The weapons discussion drew attention to officers wearing body cameras. The Policy Committee recommended that body cameras be added to the list under the Uniform SSO Requirements.
“If we’re going to put guns on officers, they need to have body cameras so that if the worst-case scenario happens and they have to use the gun, we’ve documented that,” administrator Stan Mullen said. executive for security. and surveys.
Superintendent Marty Pollio said body cameras for all SSOs are included in the proposed budget. But all that work in SSO procedures might need some changes.
JCPS wants to assign SSOs to patrol three to seven schools by car. But some state lawmakers want armed school resource officers to work on every campus.
“It’s going to be very difficult, not just for Jefferson County, but for every district in the state, to find a way to have an officer on every campus exclusively,” Pollio said.
Pollio said the new plan respects current law by assigning SSOs to monitor each school.
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