The National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) released a statement today applauding a decision by the Baltimore City Public Schools Board of School Commissioners to support proposed state legislation that would allow members of school police departments in Maryland to carry their service weapons at all times on school campuses.
Mo Canady, executive director of NASRO, said:
"The Baltimore City Public Schools Board of School Commissioners did the right thing in supporting a change to Maryland state law that would allow school police officers to be fully equipped while on the job on school campuses. School police department officers are bona fide law enforcement officers, with the same authority and responsibilities as officers who work the streets. NASRO has long held that no commissioned law enforcement officer – regardless of agency affiliation – should be restricted from access to all standard equipment; on the streets or on campus.
Asking a law enforcement officer to work without a firearm is like asking a teacher to work without a desk or a firefighter to work without a fire hose. These are all essential tools of the trades.
Carefully selected, specially trained school resource officers and school police officers build positive relationships with students. It’s their primary goal. Their special training helps them understand that criminal arrests of students are rarely necessary. Effective school policing programs that follow national best practices can therefore reduce the number of student arrests. Allowing such an officer to carry a service weapon will not change any of that.
We hope that no officer ever needs to fire his or her weapon on campus. When the need arises, however — as it did in Great Mills, Maryland; Dixon, Illinois; and Santa Fe, Texas last year — police officers who work in schools must have their firearms at hand."
NASRO is a nonprofit organization for school-based law enforcement officers, school administrators, and school security and safety professionals working as partners to protect students, school faculty and staff, and the schools they attend. NASRO is headquartered in Hoover, Alabama, and it was established in 1991. For more information, visit www.nasro.org.