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Safety & Discipline

Some officers worry schools are not prepared for shootings

Jamie Martines
| Tuesday, June 5, 2018, 9:42 a.m.
Hempfield School District's chief resource officer, Len Lander, watches the hallways as students change classes at Hempfield Area High School on Friday, April 6, 2018. The school employs seven police officers as resource officers, who can perform investigations and make arrests if needed.
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Hempfield School District's chief resource officer, Len Lander, watches the hallways as students change classes at Hempfield Area High School on Friday, April 6, 2018. The school employs seven police officers as resource officers, who can perform investigations and make arrests if needed.

About one in five police officers working in schools think that their school is not prepared to handle an active-shooter situation, according to a survey conducted by the Education Week Research Center.

Education Week Research Center surveyed about 400 school resource officers nationwide following a Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Fla., where 17 people were killed and before a May 18 school shooting in Sante Fe, Texas, where 10 people died.

According to the survey, the average officer is a 48-year-old white male who has worked in law enforcement for 19 years and served as a school police or resource officer for nine years.

Other key findings include:

• Many officers — about 81 percent — said that they have received sufficient training to work in schools.

• About 33 percent of officers said that arming some teachers could make schools safer.

• Most officers — 88 percent — agreed that having an armed officer on campus deters school shootings. Even more — 95 percent — think that having an armed officer on campus minimizes harm in the event of a shooting.

When it comes to preventing future school shootings, the top recommendations by officers included: improving student and staff training on school security, increasing physical security measures and employing adequate security staff.

Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at jmartines@tribweb.com, 724-850-2867 or on Twitter @Jamie_Martines.

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