My view: Officers can 'pencil-push' at schools, gun control debate is winless
Already, some legislators are talking about placing more school resource officers — police men and women assigned full-time to a specific school to help maintain order and safety — in public schools. That's a nice idea — and an expensive one. And according to a report by the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, a lot of resource officer time is taken up doing work that could (and sometimes should) be done by teachers and administrators.
By contrast, non-resource officers assigned to complete their paperwork on a set schedule in a school-based office would cost their communities nothing. They would provide presence, and — if necessary — a rapid response to problems of significance at and around the school. On most days, they would simply use a small desk or office to do what they'd be doing anyway. And on very bad days, they would be a well-trained person in the right place at the right time.
There is no single solution to this terrible problem. But the gun control debate is endless and winless. Satellite police offices can be in our schools tomorrow. And should be.
Matthew D. LaPlante is an assistant professor in the Department of Journalism and Communication at Utah State University. He is the father of a kindergarten student and the husband of a public school educator.
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