Washington, D.C. – Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH) last week introduced legislation to bolster school security and encourage the hiring of retired police officers to provide armed security in schools across the nation. Chabot’s legislation, H.R. 5139, the Hire Our Heroes to Protect Our Schools Act of 2018, reauthorizes the COPS Secure Our Schools grant program to provide states, localities, and tribal governments with the resources they need to hire retired officers, and take other common sense steps to prevent violence in our schools.
“Placing highly trained and professional individuals in our schools is one of the easiest methods to bolster school security,” said Chabot. “And no one is better trained and better equipped to handle a potential school shooting situation than our nation’s men and women in law enforcement, and the same holds true for retired officers. Hiring retired police officers to provide school security is a common sense step to better secure and prepare our schools, and it could be achieved almost immediately. Most importantly, doing so could go a long way towards protecting our students who are in school to learn, not become victims of hate.”
Initially, the idea of hiring retired police officers in schools was brought to Chabot’s attention by Cincinnati FOP President Dan Hils.
“Our nation’s schools have become soft targets for any would-be killer with a gun,” said Hils. “We need to do a better job protecting both students and faculty, and there isn’t a better way to do that than placing highly trained officers inside our schools. Across the country, there are more than enough retired police officers to provide the necessary security, as many police officers retire from the force in their early fifties, but continue to work in other fields for another 15 years or so. Many of these retired officers would prefer to continue serving their communities, and would jump at the chance to provide security for our schools.”
In addition to hiring retired police officers, the federal funding reauthorized by Chabot’s legislation can be used for a number of school safety measures, including: the hiring of school resource officers; preparing school faculty and staff for active shooter situations; the installation of metal detectors and other technology upgrades to help prevent shootings and more efficiently notify local law enforcement of an active shooter; and efforts to address mental illness in our school systems by providing training assistance to counselors, teachers, and staff so they are better equipped to identify and ensure the health and wellbeing of all students.