Kentucky SROs Must Carry Guns Under New Law

The new requirement adds to a 2019 state law, which called for school resource officers in nearly each of its 1,500 public schools.

Democratic Governor Andy Beshear signed Senate Bill 8 into law on Friday, requiring sworn law enforcement officers serving in Kentucky schools to be armed.

The bill, which was sponsored by Republican state senator Max Wise, passed the Senate 34-1 and the House 78-8, according to the press release.

The new bill will go into effect immediately and requires each school resource officer (SRO) to be armed, with at least one officer on every school campus where there are one or more school buildings. There are an estimated 1,500 public schools in the state.

“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,” said Beshears. “We cannot ask a school resource officer to be in a school to stop an armed shooter if they are not armed themselves.”

In the state House, several members of the Black Caucus opposed the bill, expressing concerns about the guns being used on students. Rep. Charles Booker warned that some black students may have a complicated relationship with law enforcement, reports PoliceOne.com.

“I’m asking that you consider children that come from a different walk,” he said.

Beshear acknowledged concerns about the new legislation and said he would continue to develop a training curriculum for the SROs.

Last year, state lawmakers passed the School Safety and Resiliency Act — Senate Bill (SB) 1 — which provides standards for schools to improve the physical safety and mental health of students and requires all schools have school resource officers.

SB 1 was passed in the wake of the 2018 Marshall County High School shooting in Benton, Ky., where two people were killed and 18 others were injured by a student gunman.

Last month, Beshear also proposed $18.2 million to fund the physical security portion of the bill, which is the amount the Kentucky School Board Association said was needed for statewide security upgrades. He said it is the “first important step” in fully funding the improvements needed to make public schools difficult targets.

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Amy is Campus Safety’s Senior Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy’s mother, brother, sister-in-law and a handful of cousins are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

In her free time, Amy enjoys exploring the outdoors with her husband, her son and her dog.

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One response to “Kentucky SROs Must Carry Guns Under New Law”

  1. Gene Harris says:

    If Rep. Charles Booker thinks a student will have concerns with a law enforcement officer carrying a firearm, then he and others need to address that with that specific student, not put at risk the vast majority of students who aren’t afraid, regardless of the color of their skin. It is time to put an end to the lie that white cops are out to kill black men! I am a retired white cop who not once went to work thinking today might be the day I get to kill a black man. I can say none of the men and women, of all colors, had that goal either. That is part of a lie perpetrated on everyone to foster a really bad narrative with the intent of taking down this country, a bite at a time, and unfortunately it is working.

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