Annapolis, Md. (February 28, 2013) –Comptroller Peter Franchot hosted a press conference in support of legislation to provide sworn law enforcement professionals, known as School Resource Officers (SROs), to protect public schools throughout Maryland.
The provisions in HB 165 and SB 807 would provide financial resources through the Education Trust Fund, to enable each county superintendent to enter into an agreement with an appropriate law enforcement agency to provide a full-time school resource officer to each public elementary and secondary school.
“There’s no good reason why every school in Maryland shouldn’t have a trained, armed resource officer. We have no obligation more fundamental than keeping our kids safe from harm,” Comptroller Franchot said. “We just can’t afford to let politics get in the way of protecting our children.”
The bill was sponsored by Delegate John Cluster (Baltimore County), a retired Baltimore County Police Officer who said, “As we are still feeling the shock and horror of the terrible tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, I felt it necessary to take action to improve the safety of our schools.” “Many Maryland jurisdictions already have SROs, but HB 165 and SB 807 would place an active police officer in every school,” said Cluster.
Senate Minority Leader, E.J. Pipkin (Upper Shore), who sponsored the bill in the Senate added, “As a father, I am focused on keeping our schools safe for our children. By putting an armed officer in every school, Senate Bill 807 will assure the fastest response to a gun threat and have an immediate and positive impact on the children’s safety.”
Delegate Steve Hershey (Queen Anne’s) who is a cosponsor of the House bill said, “This is common sense legislation. Although safety is the priority concern, it can be achieved with minimal impact to the taxpayers. These county School Resource Officers will be paid through the Education Trust Fund which receives funding from the state gambling revenues. There is no better use for this revenue than taking steps to protect our students and schools.”
Also cosponsoring the House bill, Delegate Jay Jacobs (Caroline, Kent) stated,
“As a grandfather with two granddaughters, one of which is still in school, I think the concern of parents and grandparents all over the state of Maryland is that if their children need help, they want them to have it right away. This bill does that.”
The event attendees heard from a retired school principal, law enforcement officials and concerned parents on how the proposed bills will help keep our schools safe.
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