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Safety Law News for March 5, 2019

• In Florida, the Clay County Sheriff's Office is offering to move around funds from the County budget to reduce the financial burden of the school resource officer program on the school board. Last year, the school board announced its intention to create a police department within the school district to save $2 million dollars. The Sheriff believes that the policy change is a bad decision.

• In Illinois, the Evanston Township Board of Education is implementing a new policy that governs the use of body cameras by school-based police. Under the agreement, officers “shall not record during the school day unless and until the SRO has reason to believe that a crime has been, or is in the process of being, committed.” The exception to the rule is that, “in the event an SRO is in a hostile situation or perceives that a complaint will be raised, in the SRO’s discretion, the (body worn camera) can begin recording.” An incident in Washington State, in which students and staff members had starkly different perceptions, illustrates the importance of body cameras.

• In Kentucky, the legislature has passed Senate Bill 1 and given it to the Governor for final passage. Senate Bill 1, the School Safety and Resiliency Act, creates Kentucky’s first school safety marshal, expands the use of school resource officers, creates a statewide anonymous safety tip line, and aims to have one counselor with mental health training for every 250 students in a school.

• In Nebraska, a bill proposed by state Sen. Chambers of Omaha would change the way schools employ security officers. His bill, LB589, would prohibit peace officers employed by a law enforcement agency from serving as school resource officers. Chambers claims that having police officers in schools does not enhance the educational environment, but rather harms students’ ability to learn.

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