MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WALA) — Alabama lawmakers are set to convene the first legislative session of the year this week, and one local state senator is ready to tackle the issue of school safety.
The resource officers are in charge of security on school campuses throughout the county. Most of them have police training, but they haven't been armed since 2006. That's why Senator Rusty Glover is renewing his fight to change that.
Glover said his bill to arm resource officers in Mobile County is ready to be introduced on the very first day of the legislative session.
"Sometimes there's some close calls where resource officers are asked to disarm a student without any gun themselves. It puts them in a very dangerous situation," Glover said.
Glover, who is also a high school teacher, said the resource officers are the school’s first line of defense. He believes having them armed could actually prevent violence.
"And I believe for the safety of the kids if we could have those weapons visible, if they know that the resource officers are armed it would may deter any kind of violence that might potentially happen," he said.
It's not the first time Glover has introduced the bill. The measure failed to get through the legislature twice. But, that was before the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.
"I think the situation in Connecticut could increase the movement of the bill. I feel fairly sure again I can get it through the Senate, but the House maybe some minds have been changed because of the situation in Connecticut," Glover said.
State Representative Napoleon Bracy hasn't changed his mind on the issue.
"I think the bill might have some momentum, but we have to look at unattended consequences. And when we go hiring new people to come in to patrol our schools that don't have contact with the public on a daily basis, that's freshly certified through APOS,we don't know exactly what the outcome of that is going to be," Bracy said.
Bracy believes Glovers bill will still come up short in the House. He thinks a partnership with the sheriff's office would be a more viable alternative.
"Let’s see about contracting with the sheriff's department and have unannounced rotation visits. Let's say if we could do it in a way where each sheriff would be responsible for three or four schools in that immediate area. And they continue to make unannounced visits at the schools. I think that would help solve the problem," Bracy said.
Senator Glover said while his bill only relates to Mobile County, he's heard there's another one in the works that could address the issue statewide.
Glover's bill would give the Mobile County school board the authority to vote to arm the resource officers, but he said a statewide bill might make it a mandate for all schools.
House Speaker Mike Hubbard said his first priority is setting up a repayment plan for the $437 million taken from a state trust fund to support the General Fund budget.
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