Rutland County senators call for expanded school resource officer program

Published: Feb. 11, 2021 at 5:17 PM EST
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RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) - Two Rutland County senators are introducing a new bill calling for an expansion of Vermont’s public school student resource officer program.

Sens. Josh Terenzini and Brian Collamore were joined at a news conference on Thursday by police from multiple towns and cities, as well as a state representative, Rutland’s mayor and a few high school administrators.

The new bill calls for an expansion into schools without SROs and requests $1 million in grant funding for districts that cannot afford an officer.

A different bill in Montpelier looks to end the SRO program.

But Terenzini argues Vermont cannot let a few officers with poor judgment ruin the SRO program for everyone.

“This is the first real exposure that students have with law enforcement. Too many children are taught that law enforcement officers are not their friends. We must change this rhetoric and build a bridge between our youth of today and the 21st-century police officer,” said Terenzini, R-Rutland County.

Terenzini says our rural schools need an officer on-site in an emergency to reduce wait time until other officers can arrive.

The bill allows an officer to become an SRO after three years of experience with no infractions. And all SROs will receive additional training on several fronts including implicit bias, de-escalation and adolescent crisis development.

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