School Police Officers in Kentucky Must Now Carry Guns
Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear of Kentucky signed into law a bill that requires school resource officers to carry a firearm.
"As a parent and as your governor, I want Kentuckians to know that I see the safety of our families and children as my top responsibility,” Gov. Beshear said. “I am taking the steps to protect our children in schools – to ensure that the next time an armed individual enters a Kentucky school, there is a sworn law enforcement officer there, armed and well-trained. We’re going to give them the tools they need to stop the worst of the worst.”
The bill, which received bipartisan support among state lawmakers, passing the Senate 34-1 and the House 78-8, requires the sworn law enforcement officers already serving in Kentucky schools, in accordance with the passage of SB 1 in 2019, to be armed and requires standards for security and training.
“As a parent of a 9- and 10-year-old, I understand the wrenching anxiety parents feel when it comes to our children’s safety and the responsibility we have is heavy,” said Gov. Beshear. “Every day, when we as parents or guardians buckle children into a vehicle and send them to school, we are taking responsibility. Now these officers will be there. And we know, especially in our rural communities, that law enforcement cannot always be just down the street or around the block. Help is sometimes further away and our children and educators cannot wait.”
Last year, state lawmakers, in the wake of the Marshall County shooting, passed the School Safety and Resiliency Act – Senate Bill 1 – which provided standards for schools that would help improve the physical and mental health and safety of students. 2019’s SB 1 mandated that school resource officers be in schools.
Last month, Gov. Beshear proposed $18.2 million to fund the physical plant mandate portion of the bill, which is every dollar the Kentucky School Board Association said was needed for statewide school security upgrades. The governor said the proposal is a "first important step in fully funding the improvements needed in our public schools and making many of our schools hard targets."