OKLAHOMA CITY – The Senate Education Committee gave unanimous approval Tuesday to legislation providing local school districts more options in filling their school resource officer positions. Senate Bill 1521, by Sen. Dewayne Pemberton, R-Muskogee, would allow districts without available active law enforcement officers in their county or community to hire retired peace officers or CLEET certified security guards.
“Since we passed the School Resource Officer Program last session, we’ve realized that not all communities, especially those in rural Oklahoma, even have police departments and their sheriff’s departments are stretched too thin to provide an officer for their local school district,” Pemberton said. “My new bill will provide schools more flexibility to fill these critical safety positions by allowing them to employ retired police officers, troopers or CLEET certified security guards. The important thing is that we have highly trained professionals in these positions that can properly secure a school to prevent emergencies or protect our students in case one occurs.”
Pemberton was the original Senate author of the School Resource Officer Program, which requires schools to hire or contract with only active law enforcement officers assigned by a local employing agency. SB 1521 modifies the program to require that active law enforcement be given first priority in hiring or contracting but if there are none available, a school district may hire a retired law enforcement official or a licensed security guard.
The measure will next be considered by the full Senate.
Sen. Pemberton: (405) 521-5533 or Dewayne.Pemberton@oksenate.gov