New Kentucky law calls for school resource officers in private schools

In wake of the recent shooting in Nashville, Gov. Beshear said that safety continues to be the number one priority when it comes to Kentuckians.
Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 7:06 PM EDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - After the horrific shooting that took place in a Nashville school earlier this week, many people are wanting officials to take action in regard to gun violence and children’s safety.

House Bill 540 was signed into law by Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear last Friday. The bill would allow private schools the right to a school resource officer.

In wake of the recent shooting, Beshear said that safety continues to be the number one priority when it comes to Kentuckians, especially children in school.

“Our schools are safe and will continue to be safe because every day we will make sure every resource possible is given to our schools so that Kentucky’s kids – our leaders of tomorrow – have a safe learning environment to thrive, grow and reach their dreams,” said Gov. Beshear before signing House Bill 540.

One of the head sponsors of the bill, Rep. Killian Timoney, says school resource officers play a vital role in public schools, but can now officially play a vital role in private schools as well.

“SROs are important for many reasons. First, they are first responders in times of crisis. Second, they provide a sense of safety for students and staff,” said Rep. Timoney.

“Third, they can respond to emergencies in a more efficient and effective manner than a school staff member due to being connected to the Emergency Response two-way radio system. Lastly, much of law enforcement is about intuition, being able to assess environments for possible threats or weak spots in safety. Having experts only makes it stronger.”

On Monday, March 27, six people, including three young students and three teachers, at a parochial school in Nashville were shot and killed.

There was no school resource officer inside the school when the shooting took place.

Brett Hightower, sheriff of Warren County, said having school resource officers in all schools is one step closer to creating a safer environment for kids in school.

“Our primary goal is to stop these threats. This is something that almost every school in Warren County is trained on. We train continually on this and we train within the region with different law enforcement on this,” said Hightower.

“We prepare for tornadoes. We prepare for fires. Unfortunately, in today’s time, you have to prepare for that active shooter event that can happen. We never know when or where. They happen across the nation in different cities and states, you never thought they might, but you always have to prepare for the fact that they may happen today or tomorrow.”

Warren County Public Schools has 12 school resource officers across the school district with 310 years of combined law enforcement experience. Now, private schools will have access to this resource thanks to House Bill 540 being signed into law.