Security Expert Says More Resource Officers needed To Keep Schools Safe

He says it shouldn’t be an issue of how much can we afford.


Frederick, Md (KM). Since the school shootings in Parkland,  Florida, and at Great Mills High School in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, there’s been a lot of discussion about school security.

During an appearance Saturday on “Success Happens” on WFMD, Dennis O’Connor, a retired police officer and current Director of Training at the Government Training Institute, says the calls have been for more school resource officers, and arming teachers and other school employees. “If I were go towards anything in those three categories, I would say we need school resources in every school,” he said. “Are we willing to spend the money to provide the security for our children and put more resource officers in the schools.”

But he noted it often comes down to how much local governments are willing to spend to place more  resource officers in schools. “When do we make the dollar more important than a human life,” O’Connor asked. :”It should never be about that. We should put all the resources we need in place to make sure that children are safe in schools>’

The shooting last month at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, left 17 people dead. Police arrested the gunman, Nikolas Cruz, 19. He confessed to the killings, authorities say.

On Tuesday, March 20th, three students at Great Mills High School were shot by student Austin Rollins, 17. One of them was Jaelynn Willey, 16, who had been in a relationship with Rollins. She died late Thursday night at the University of Maryland Prince George’s County Hospital Center after her family took her off life support. They said Jaelynn was brain dead.

Rollins was also killed in the attack. He either committed suicide, or was shot by the school resource officer. Another student, Desmond Barnes,14, was injured, but he survived.

Another recommendation being discussed following these two shootings is arming teachers and school employees. In his comments on “Success Happens,” O’Connor said each state will probably decide where to go on this issue. But he said owning and using a gun is complicated. “As a police officer, I’m required to be certified several times a year with my firearm. Precision shooting is must. The prerequisite for that has to be so strict.  I have to be monitored and there has to be sustainment training,” he said.

In addition, O’Connor said having a permit to carry a concealed weapon is a huge responsibility. “Once I decide to use that firearm, and I pull that trigger, I’m just as responsible as any law enforcement official out there,” he said.; “That bullet that comes from that gun is either on target, or it’s not. If it’s not on target, I’m responsible for where that goes. There is a huge responsibility that comes with carrying a firearm.”

By Kevin McManus