U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins recently submitted two bills to Congress that would change the landscape of school security for the country’s 95,230 public schools.
House Resolution 5242 calls for collecting data on current school resource officers nationwide, while House Resolution 5523 requests the Department of Justice to create a set of tactical “best practices” for school resource officers. The combined legislation would create a new classification, “Tactical School Resource Officer.”
Training would include a blend of school resource officer and tactical law enforcement methods, something Higgins said is rare right now.
“We believe with best practices established we can marry the two,” he said.
Higgins, R-Port Barre, said he doesn’t want to “reinvent the wheel” of current training operations. Rather, he envisions working with current jurisdictions, and using existing authorities and training facilities to prepare the next generation of officers.
Collecting data and establishing national standards would allow the legislation to request federal funding for the new class of tactical school resource officers, Higgins said. The effort would cost approximately $10 billion annually, and would require help from federal departments, state legislation and private donors, he said.
Higgins said he “doesn’t believe that schools should resemble prisons.” Instead, he is playing “the long game” concerning school security, he said.
The nation should take steps to protect its public schools similar to when government enacted new aviation regulations after the 9/11 attacks, Higgins said.
“There’s already a model for how this works,” he said. “Prior to 9/11, airports and airlines were softer targets. After 9/11, we changed. Things got hard.” Law enforcement, along with state and local government leaders, have voiced support for the measures, Higgins said.