NRA breaks silence, asks Congress to arm resource officers in schools; KY and OH officials respond
PHILLIP ELLIOTT, Associated Press , Jana Soete, firstname.lastname@example.org
11:52 AM, Dec 21, 2012
8:19 PM, Dec 21, 2012
WASHINGTON (AP) - The nation's largest gun-rights lobby is calling for armed police officers to be posted in every American school to stop the next killer "waiting in the wings."
The National Rifle Association broke its silence Friday on last week's shooting rampage at a Connecticut elementary school that left 26 children and staff dead.
The group's top lobbyist, Wayne LaPierre, said at a Washington news conference that, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."
LaPierre called on Congress to pass a law putting armed police officers in every school in America. It was the first public appearance that leaders of the gun rights group have made since a 20-year-old man used a popular assault-style rifle to slaughter 20 school children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., one week ago.
Kentucky Center for School Safety Executive director John Akers told 9 On Your Side there is currently no law in the state that requires armed police officers in schools, and there is nothing in the works to bring School Resource Officers (SROs) to all schools. However, Akers has recommended such action. He wants all schools to have SROs or have DARE officers act as both.
Asked if having officers in elementary school might "scare" younger kids, Akers said he thinks it would teach kids at a very young age to respect law enforcement and that officers are their friends. Many DARE officers are currently engaged at schools and teaching students these vital lessons already.
Asked if he would prefer SROs or any armed officers, Akers said he would prefer SROs because they have 40 extra hours of training about working in schools with students and staff.
When 9 On Your Side asked Akers about allowing armed volunteers at every school, he said: "I am opposed to having pistol-packing parents running around during a crisis at a school."
There are currently no requirements for SROs to be in every Ohio school.
Contacted Friday after the NRA press conference, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine repeated much of what he said earlier this week on this subject.
The state announced emergency and crisis training for Ohio teachers and administrators. There are three training classes set up for January.
Teachers and staff are the first responders and they need to have training and information on what to do when faced with a crisis.
DeWine said local school boards should seriously consider having SROs or police officers in schools, but the decision is up to those individual boards.
When asked about volunteers being armed to protect schools, DeWine said he would be " very cautious" about such an initiative. He said in 30 years of working with law enforcement he has seen a lot and feels having trained staff is the better option.