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February 21, 2018 - 9:05am

Today's Poll: Should every school in the county have a law enforcement resource officer?

posted by Howard B. Owens in polls.
tom hunt
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A added expense to an already over burden tax payer. Seventeen states have implemented a system where one designated teacher or administrator has a loaded fire arm on site in a locked cabinet or desk. He or she is specially trained in the use of this weapon. The mere presence of this weapon would go far to prevent the types of tragic outcomes we are now seeing.

david spaulding
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Probably be cheaper on the taxpayer if the school hired a private company like Blackwater.
Don't think a person hell bent on a school shooting will be deterred because of armed security or the police as they may want to die, if law enforcement fails to carry out the death wish, they do it themselves.

Brian Heick
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I'd rather have a officer in the school. A teacher in a room full of kids with a gun unsettles me quite a bit.

Howard B. Owens
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As I've thought more about arming teachers, I've started to think that's not the best solution.

A human being in a highly stressful situation, such as a live-fire situation, causes the biological stress system to kick in which greatly diminishes rational appraisal and thinking. It takes a lot of training and practice to overcome this biological response. A few trips to a firing range won't do it. A teacher should be focused on being a better teacher. Any available time for extra training should be focused on teaching, not being a tactical active shooter expert.

There are so many variables in a school situation -- time of day, number of students, physical size and school and layout, activities -- that the odds are diminished of an armed teacher being in the right place at the right time.

The probability of such a program being statistically validated as successful seems pretty narrow.

Tim Miller
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The President suggested again about making schools non-gun-free zones. My guess is he's talking about arming teachers. A couple of questions about that:
- Who will pay for the firearms?
- If firearms will not be provided, can teachers bring in their own?
- What sort of training will be required before a teacher can bring a firearm into class?
- Who will pay for that training?

And Tom... you declared "The mere presence of this weapon would go far to prevent the types of tragic outcomes we are now seeing."... You do realize there WAS an armed officer on that campus when the kid walked on and killed those 17 people, don't you? Well, you do now.

Rich Richmond
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Arming the teachers is only one part of the solution. If the teachers chose not to be armed, so be it. Let the ones who do want to carry concealed. We have an ex-military and retired policeman to draw on as a resource pool. Pay them per diem during the school year.

Americans are resourceful and can rise to any challenge, we put people on the moon, and we can solve this one, despite the naysayers.

Americans protect themselves and others daily with legally owned firearms, and many have attended certified training academies.

The NRA, founded in 1871 was one of the first true grassroots civil rights groups around.

They have historically worked for hand and hand in training the police and military. They will gladly help with training to get the ball rolling. People fear what they don’t understand.

Signs declaring “Gun Free” protects nobody except the perpetrator, and have proven to be symbolism ahead of substance.

Securing all the entrances is a solution. Metal detectors and checking backpacks is another. Having a dress code and banning baggy thug clothing is another.

Security is neither quick or convenient. However, it saves lives. Changing the HIPAA Laws to create a database for background checks is another. Mandate sealed youthful offender records are unsealed and available for firearm background checks.

Yes, there was one armed Officer on a campus of 3000, and that is clearly as effective as multiple gun free signs.

https://www.gunowners.org/sk0802htm.htm
https://firearmtraining.nra.org/
http://www.icetraining.us/

Howard B. Owens
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"Having a dress code and banning baggy thug clothing is another."

I don't remember any recent school shooters dressed in "baggy thug clothing" ...

"Changing the HIPAA Laws to create a database for background checks is another. Mandate sealed youthful offender records are unsealed and available for firearm background checks."

I think most people would find these common sense ideas. There are potential pitfalls but there are lots of options to explore. However, the NRA has always opposed background checks.

One thing I've been saying for a while now, if gun rights advocates want to protect the 2nd Amendment, they need to be the ones out proposing solutions that ensure gun ownership rights while also taking steps to protect lives. If they don't, eventually the tide of opinion will swing against them. It's not unreasonable to believe the 2nd Amendment could be amended. If there's enough popular support, enough people fed up with gun violence, there will be a movement to do just that. We may be seeing the beginning of that movement with the high school students in Florida. If there are more high school shootings energizing more high school students, the tide could turn quickly. I support gun rights. I don't want to see that happen but I find it entirely plausible for this country to swing in that direction. When I say that, the common response from gun-rights friends is along the lines, well, then there will be a bloody uprising. Maybe so, but I wouldn't root for that turn of events either. Why not pursue common-sense reform rather than draw a line in the sand?

I like that Rich is willing to throw out ideas that some gun rights advocates may not like but should be on the table for discussion. Getting up, as the NRA president did today, and saying, essentially, that any discussion about reform is just a Democratic ploy to take away people's guns is neither true nor helpful. That isn't the path forward in a democracy.

Tim Miller
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Rich - good, informative post.

Has anybody bothered to ask all of these ex-police officers and retired military folks who would be willing to volunteer (or work for a per diem) whether they actually *will* spend 5, 10, 20, or 40 hours of their weeks at schools performing these duties.

Don't get me wrong - I love the idea of having folks who are already trained or partially trained stepping into these roles! And if hundreds of thousands of these folks step right up, go for it! There are approximately 98,000 public schools in the US (we'll ignore private schools - they can hire their own mercenaries to protect themselves, and the parochial schools won't need them - per the meme going around god can protect those schools as god has not been "kicked out"). As you noted, one armed officer won't cut it for large campuses, so multiple volunteers for each school...every day.

The problem with simply stating "we'll get retired/ex- police/military to do this job!" is that too often, even if the speaker is willing to do it themselves, they are assuming all these other people are willing and able to donate all their time. Let me tell you - getting people in large number to volunteer, and then having those volunteers actually follow through with major commitments, is a nightmare. As a buddy used to say... Life gets in the way.

Besides - if all of these people were willing to volunteer (or work for a per diem), wouldn't they already be doing so? Schools have all sorts of needs, not just physical protectors.

I'd rather not read another "retired/ex- military/police can protect the kids!" post until I see commitment sheets from a hundred thousand or so volunteers committing themselves to a year or so of service. Until then, that line is a useless talking point. A very nice sounding one, but for all practical purposes useless.

Rich Richmond
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Tim,
I know where you’re coming from when you say,
“I'd rather not read another "retired/ex- military/police can protect the kids!" post until I see commitment sheets from a hundred thousand or so volunteers committing themselves to a year or so of service. Until then, that line is a useless talking point. A very nice sounding one, but for all practical purposes useless.”

Until the opposition is open to allowing, what is the point of signing up, when we continue to have gun free zones.
Howard, you said, “I don't remember any recent school shooters dressed in "baggy thug clothing" ...
Howard, children are being murdered at an alarming rate in the inner cities. See Chicago for example, gangs and thug attire in the schools.
http://www.ncpc.typepad.com/prevention_works_blog/2014/06/school-uniform...
Do you mean a movement like on CNN’s biased town hall meeting, Howard.
https://nypost.com/2018/02/22/shooting-survivor-claims-cnn-scripted-ques...
Given the last election, and day to day events, many people think Journalism is dead in this Country by the way news is reported. They see the bias, night after night, and I’m not talking about Opinion Shows. Note: I’m not talking about you, Howard.
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/11/18/news-media-interpretatio...

John Roach
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If you open up any mental health records for a background check, and a gun is denied, there has to be some sort of due process for that person. There needs to be some way for the denied person to have the decision reviewed.

Rich Richmond
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Yes, the due process is a valid point. The same for alleged domestic abuse charges that were adjudicated as false.

Howard B. Owens
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Rich, the ill-informed and unjustified attacks on the press by Donald Trump and his brand of right-wing populism is no less than an attack on the Freedom of the Press as guaranteed by the First Amendment

Gun rights advocates expect us to support the Second Amendment, yet many of them continue to condone and cheer attacks on the First Amendment.

For example, there's this disgusting, un-American, anti-freedom bit from the NRA today:

https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/22/politics/dana-loesch-cpac-media/index.html

Ed Hartgrove
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Whenever I hear anything about the "Gun Free Zone" signs, I immediately think about the 1991 Luby's cafeteria shooting.

Dr. Suzanna Gratia Hupp later testified before Congress (her testimony can be viewed on YouTube) that she regretted about deciding to remove her gun from her purse and lock it in her car, lest she risk possibly running afoul of the state's concealed weapons laws. When the gunman started shooting people, she started to reach for her purse, but, then she remembered that she had left her pistol in her car.

Dr. Gratia was having lunch with her mother and father. She watched in horror as her father was murdered by a deranged madman. When she saw the chance to get out of the building, she told her mother, "C'mon, Mom. RUN!".
She thought her mother was right behind her. She found out later that her mother had stayed behind to cradle her father while he was dying. She wouldn't leave him. Eventually, the gunman came around and killed her mother. In the end, 44 people were shot, and 24 died.
Dr. Gratia testified that she wasn't 100% sure that she could've shot the gunman, but, that she had hit much smaller targets at farther distances.

Was Luby's cafeteria a "Gun Free Zone"? Not in the sense that it had a "sign" prohibiting guns. But, the Texas laws, at that time, didn't allow her to carry it in her purse.

Can anyone take a wild guess as to why armed criminals don't go into police stations and start shooting? I mean, after all, the police are their sworn enemies. I might be wrong, but, I believe they don't do it because they know the police stations aren't Gun Free Zones.

Rich Richmond
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Howard, in Post #9, and whoever read this mentioned Post, I said," Note: I’m talking about you Howard." I apologize Howard for any misunderstanding. I do not advocate that at all, nor do I think you're biased. I neglected to add (NOT) I meant to say-Note: I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT YOU, HOWARD! I'm glad by happenstance I saw you in Tops to explain my stupid mistake and apologize in person.

Howard B. Owens
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Rich, nice see you at Tops. It’s not a stupid mistake. That’s too strong. I’ve done worse. As every regular reader knows.

Ed Hartgrove
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BREAKING NEWS!!
Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said Deputy Scott Peterson resigned upon learning he was suspended without pay pending results of the investigation.
Deputy Peterson, who was assigned to "guard" the school chose to remain outside, rather than engage the shooter, which is what the Sheriff said the deputy should have done.
So much for depending on school resource officers to keep your children. At least (armed) teachers would be INSIDE the school.

tom hunt
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Ed you beat me to it. I just saw the news about the resource officer who refused to do his job and protect those students in Florida. So much for all those thumb downs on my suggestion to arm selected teachers or adminitrators to protect students. Where was he,, outside in his car watching while dozens of students were slaughtered? Even President Trump is siding on arming teachers. We need strong individuals with military back ground who can handle a weapon and know how to rush to the sound of gun fire. Terrorists will always seek soft targetsl

Rich Richmond
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Yes, Deputy Scott Peterson resigned upon learning he was suspended without pay pending results of the investigation.People were murdered and he is facing the consequences. Why isn't the FBI held to the same standards of accountability for not acting?

Rich Richmond
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Howard, the NRA is reacting to the ill-informed and unjustified attacks on them by the press.
The press is not above reproach. The Courts have ruled the First Amendment is not absolute.
Freedom of Speech and the right to question is not exclusive to Journalists, even when the criticism is directed at the press. That is not an attack on the Freedom of the Press as guaranteed by the First Amendment, that is citizens exercising their rights under the First Amendment, and holding the press accountable. CNN is leading the charge to bring Journalism into the gutter,

https://thefederalist.com/2018/02/22/cnns-insane-anti-gun-townhall-will-...

http://www.guns.com/2013/03/27/top-ten-examples-of-media-bias-against-gu...

http://www.davekopel.com/Media/MediaBias.htm

Howard B. Owens
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The press is not above reproach but freedom of the press is and when you attack the press the way Trump does or the NRA did above with no cause or justification you are engaging in an attempt to delegitimization the press in order to create an environment more favorable to disinformation, which is a direct threat to freedom. That attack is beyond the bounds of human decency. It’s disgraceful.

Howard B. Owens
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Let me put it this way ... In all my journalism career, before coming to Batavia and starting The Batavian, I never covered a fatality. I'd seen a dead body once.

I've covered dozens in the past 10 years. I've seen a couple of fatal accident victims lying in the roadway. It was a horrific site I'll never unsee. I've covered half-a-dozen or so young people's deaths. It's not easy. It sometimes feels soul-crushing. A few years ago, we had two teenager fatal accidents within the same week. All I'll say is, it was stressful.

The idea that journalists get off on covering mass shootings is ridiculous and to say it outloud from an NRA spokeswoman is disgusting.

I support gun rights but the NRA is out of line on this one. Way out of line. And it's the kind of thing that contributes to the coarsening of society and makes it harder to solve real problems.

Rich Richmond
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Then I'll put it this way. Wayne LaPierre, the President of the NRA's speeches is on Youtube, and on the NRA website, and snippets were taken out of context, by Journalists.
They call it NRA members contribution blood money, and that is the coarsening you are talking about and causes problems; it is divisive. The purpose of the News Media is to make money. I have seen dead bodies, and people dying. Through my lifetime have, and especially with cable news, I've watched the news media descend on these shootings like vultures. 24-hour coverage and sensational coverage draws viewers and generates revenue.

Howard B. Owens
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"They call it NRA members contribution blood money" ... I've never seen that in news coverage.

I've seen that from left-leaning commentators but never in news coverage.

When you have a lot of media, a lot of media is going to show up to cover something. Everybody wants to do their job and to not have coverage for your organization is a dereliction of duty. To say it's all about ratings is hogwash. Ratings are an executives job to worry about not a reporter's. Attacking reporters for doing their jobs in this way is misguided and misinformed.

Howard B. Owens
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BTW: There's a lot of effort by journalists to make sure other journalists get information about guns right ... to broad-brush the whole of media as anti-gun is misinformed. Journalists have been highly self-critical of gun coverage in an effort to improve coverage.

https://www.poynter.org/news/covering-vegas-shooting-what-journalists-ne...

https://ijnet.org/en/blog/resources-journalists-covering-mass-shootings

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2016/06/the_med...

http://prndi.org/post/six-things-every-reporter-should-know-about-guns

Rich Richmond
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Eugene Stoner designed the AR-15 Rifle. AR stands for Armalite Rifle, NOT "Assault Rifle."
The news media consistently calls these rifles, assault rifles, deliberately or through ignorance by not doing the homework.

An assault rifle is a made up word used by Journalists to promote a narrative.

https://conservativetribune.com/reporter-thinks-shotgun-ar-15/

Journalists are good, and bad, Howard. I’ll add you to a list of good ones.

https://www.theguardian.com/media/greenslade/2014/may/12/newspapers-jour...

http://thefederalist.com/2017/02/06/16-fake-news-stories-reporters-have-...

Tim Miller
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After work today I'll ask the three teachers who frequent the same bar as I do about arming teachers. I'll get into specifics - whether teachers should be given guns and training; what they think of teachers bringing in their own weapons; the training they would want armed teachers to have; etc.

——————
Hmmm...what do you know? Seems like when you approach teachers at a bar on a Friday night the most likely response to a serious question concerning 17people getting killed in a school is “It’s been a s*** week...ask me Monday,”

I think it will be interesting to see what they have to say.

C. M. Barons
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Why per diem? Are they only going to be called in on days when a shooting occurs? If your "resource officer" is supposed to be a deterrent, s/he needs to have a visible, familiar, daily presence in the school. There need to be drills involving the officer, protocols, procedures and chains of command set between the officer, the teachers, the students, parents, the school administrators and law enforcement. Such a relationship would seem to demand a contracted employee with distinct skill sets- not a tenuously employed armed retiree.

Rich Richmond
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"We have an ex-military and retired policeman to draw on as a resource pool. Pay them per diem during the school year." To clarify, Resource as a supplement to the Police or Sheriffs who are there as primary. I did not say resource as primary, exclusively or only.

John Roach
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C.M., if you hire pre diem retired police officers or ex military (such as Military Police) who are retired, you can have a number of them. You pay them for the day they work and do not have to pay benefits like sick time or vacation time. They can train as you say. They also can rotate between schools. It just cost the taxpayer less.

C. M. Barons
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John, without knowing what the per diem rate is one can't really make a claim as to economy. In general, though, per diem is not the way most full time jobs are contracted. A per diem appointment is usually applied to either occasional or temporary roles, because there is no regular schedule. Snow removal would be an example of a per diem activity. Further, I don't see this role as one that a rotating schedule could fulfill. Then, again, I'm not planning on hiring anyone in this role, so you or anyone else are welcome to draft your own proposals on how it might be realized. I just don't foresee any school district embracing per diem school safety officers unless they were (for example) from a pool of active law enforcement officers. Schools don't hire cleaners and custodians that way; they certainly wouldn't hire armed security people that way. For one thing, if you had itinerant employees in this type of position, how would anyone from one day to the next recognize the person serving in this role? The idea is not to merely have a hired gun on hand.

C. M. Barons
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tom hunt
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John, most shooting incidents are over in a short time; sometimes 5 minutes. Rotating a Resource Officer between schools would negate the coverage. We need on site continuous presence of an armed individual.

John Roach
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Tom, my suggestion would be to have one in each building, but rotate all of them around, not just one to move around from building to building.

Rich Richmond
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I think many are all missing the point. Think of your Resource Officers like substitute teachers and use them as you need them. Keep your full-time dedicated full-time Officer at each school.
Add one or more Resource Officers to each a school, and rotate them periodically to learn the layout of every school in the district. You have to account for people being sick, etc. If there are special events in the evening with large groups of students at a particular school, and the others are closed, you have a pool of Resource Officers familiar with the layout and the students.

Rich Richmond
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Officers-plural, waited out, while the students were massacred and died.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/02/24/several-broward-deputies-waited-out...

Rich Richmond
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I'm not disparaging our Law Enforcement Officers. Most of our brave men and women would have rushed into the school to save those students lives.

The Supreme Court has ruled the Police have no Constitutional duty to protect someone.
We now know the Police didn't protect the students.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/28/politics/justices-rule-police-do-not-h...

We now know several officers stayed outside until after the shooting.

We also see much of the media blaming the NRA, instead of the FBI, and these officers any anyone directly involved.

http://www.dailydma.com/liberal-loser-sheriff-israel-busted-dirty-secret...

C. M. Barons
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I've seen a number of reports drawing upon student and teacher interviews that indicate that the school had announced a "code red" drill for that day. It was to have included enactment that was to include police firing blank rounds and screaming. Many students presumed that the actual shooting was part of the drill until the carnage convinced them otherwise. I wonder if some of the officers who remained outside weren't under the same mistaken assumption.

Rich Richmond
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"I wonder if some of the officers who remained outside weren't under the same mistaken assumption."

I wonder why they didn't call base, or call the Officer inside they assumed was shooting blanks, to see if it was, in fact, a drill, before, after, and during the time those Officers sought cover behind concrete barriers. Perhaps because they saw the Officer assigned to shoot blanks in the school was outside hiding behind a concrete barrier.

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