JCPS Meeting 1/13/20

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Jefferson County Public Schools is getting closer to hiring its own school security force.

Under new proposals, the district will stop using the term "school resource officer" or "SRO" and instead call its security team "school safety officers" or "SSOs."

The district said the difference between an SRO and an SSO is that school resource officers belong to outside police agencies, while SSOs are employed directly by the school district. That means the officers will be trained by JCPS, answer to JCPS and follow school policies.

The JCPS policy committee discussed Tuesday how SSOs would go through 40 hours of training by the state plus extra required training by JCPS on topics like de-escalation. The policy also lays out the purpose for the new SSOs, which explicitly states is not student discipline. Instead, the proposed policy states the officers would be there to provide law enforcement presence on school property and at school events and to build positive relationships with students.

Monday's meeting was the first of two policy meetings. This week's meeting outlined the general purpose of the SSOs, while next week's will get into specific details, like weapons and uniforms.

"... all the specifics about the job responsibilities, what they do, what they can't do, the type of training they'll have, how we'll hire them, the cars that they'll drive, all the various tools that they might have," JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio said.

Those items will be outlined in a manual called "standard operating procedures," or SOP. Pollio said the manual could be hundreds of pages long.

The board could take a final vote on the security plan next month. If passed, trained officers would start working in schools in August.

The committee's meeting comes on the same day a Kentucky lawmaker filed a bill to require any officers at a school to be armed. The bill tightens up a school safety law from last year that simply allowed officers to carry a weapon. This bill would require it.

Last year's bill was in response to the January 2018 shooting at Marshall County High School that killed two students. Sen. Max Wise, R-Campbellsville, said the new bill is a priority among Senate Republicans.

Related Stories:

Copyright 2020 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.