The Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio has always felt strongly about the need to secure our schools in an effort to protect our children.
The FOP of Ohio believes that the path to addressing school shooting requires two actions. The first is to have well-trained, commissioned law enforcement officers in schools doing the job police are trained to do. School Resource Officers (SRO) who will arrest violators, confront suspicious behaviors, recognize danger and respond according to our training will keep schools safer.
In addition to improving security, SROs build relationships between students and law enforcement, provide a positive role model and serve as guest instructors in classrooms on issues such as drug addiction.
The second essential action needed to protect our schools and students is to ensure that the school facilities are secure. In every other government building, other than schools, visitors and staff must go through a screening to enter the building. Our Statehouse, the Capitol, courthouses, airports and city halls all have security screening at limited access points. If we implement the types of security measures we use to protect legislators and judges for teachers and students, we’ll see an environment less conducive to violence and more likely to give peace of mind to teachers, students and parents.
If school building access is limited, and those access points were manned by law enforcement personnel with security screening responsibilities, the ability of someone bent on committing a mass shooting would be severely limited. Yes, this would require an investment of federal and state dollars, but nothing is more important that public safety.
In coming days, you’ll hear many different ideas to limit gun violence. Many will help supplement what we’ve outlined above and should be prioritized, including enforcing existing gun laws, establishing gun violence restraining orders, improving the sharing of mental health information so that access to firearms can be restricted when necessary and imposing strict prison sentences for gun crimes.