District Exploring School Resource Officer

The Bourbon School District is looking into the possibility of obtaining a School Resource Officer (SRO), a reaction to the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Board members discussed how to keep the campuses more secure at the March 15 meeting. Superintendent Patricia Thompson said in an email to the Independent News on Thursday that she has met with both Crawford County Sheriff Darin Layman and Bourbon Police Chief Paul Satterfield.

“I have met with Sheriff Layman and also have visited twice with Chief Satterfield about it,” Thompson wrote. “They are both looking into things from their end and we will be meeting together soon.”

Thompson said Layman is looking a possible grant opportunity.

Layman confirmed Friday to the Independent News that he is looking into how an agreement can be worked out. Layman said he has been in contact with Satterfield.

Ideally, Layman said, there would be a municipal police officer and sheriff’s deputy working collaboratively at each school in Crawford County.

“We’re trying to fund the finds,” said Layman, explaining a matching fund agreement would be easiest. “We’re all in agreement there’s a need.”

At the board meeting, members debated between checking into a SRO or a School Protection Officer (SPO). Protection officers, Thompson said, are school employees who go through 120 hours of specific raining and is permitted by state statute to carry a firearm or mace.

SROs are typically law enforcement officers. In Sullivan, the school district pays 75 percent of the SRO salary while the city picks up the other 25 percent.

“Since we don’t go to school year round, it is likely the officer would need to be working in the department when school is not in session,” Thompson said.

Board members debated whether it would be worth it to have a SPO and John Craig wondered if that person would be able to pull the trigger in that situation.

“We want to make sure they’re trained properly,” Craig said. “The biggest thing, if it came down to it, could they do it? It’s hard for a law enforcement officer who does it every day all day that doesn’t know the person. I don’t know what’s the best option. I don’t know if even I could, as a parent, pull a trigger on a kid. That’s hard.”

The district has been proactive in response to mass shootings. The most recent bond issue funded security upgrades following the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.

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