§ 162-26. Sheriff May Establish Volunteer School Safety Resource Officer Program.

Posted on February 23, 2018

Todd Paris, Salisbury Attorney and RFP Contributor

♦ Another lunatic has run amuck and committed mass murder at a Florida school. This time the chosen implement was not a pressure cooker bomb or a rented moving van, but a semi-automatic rifle. The target was a school. We have resumed the expected and all too frequent debates that usually spin out of control and accomplish nothing that might actually prevent the harm sought to be eliminated. Meanwhile, the N.C. Legislature has provided our Sheriffs a useful tool to increase skilled armed security in the public schools at a potentially nominal expense and it has been “on the books” for a few years. Here it is:

§ 162-26. Sheriff may establish volunteer school safety resource officer program:

(a) The sheriff may establish a volunteer school safety resource officer program to provide non-salaried special deputies to serve as school safety resource officers in public schools. To be a volunteer in the program, a person must have prior experience as either (i) a sworn law enforcement officer or (ii) a military police officer with a minimum of two years’ service. If a person with experience as a military police officer is no longer in the armed services, the person must also have an honorable discharge. A program volunteer must receive training on research into the social and cognitive development of elementary, middle, and high school children and must also meet the selection standards and any additional criteria established by the sheriff. (b) Each volunteer shall report to the sheriff and shall work under the direction and supervision of the sheriff or the sheriff’s designee when carrying out the volunteer’s duties as a school safety resource officer. No volunteer may be assigned to a school as a school safety resource officer until the volunteer has updated or renewed the volunteer’s law enforcement training and has been certified by the North Carolina Sheriff’s Education and Training Standards Commission as meeting the educational and firearms proficiency standards required of persons serving as special deputy sheriffs. A volunteer is not required to meet the physical standards required by the North Carolina Sheriff’s Education and Training Standards Commission but must have a standard medical exam to ensure the volunteer is in good health. A person selected by the sheriff to serve as a volunteer under this section shall have the power of arrest while performing official duties as a volunteer school safety resource officer. (c) The sheriff may enter into an agreement with the local board of education to provide volunteer school safety resource officers who meet both the criteria established by this section and the selection and training requirements set by the sheriff of the county for the schools. The sheriff shall be responsible for the assignment of any volunteer school safety resource officer assigned to a public school and for the supervision of the officer. (d) There shall be no liability on the part of and no cause of action shall arise against a volunteer school safety resource officer, the Sheriff or employees of the sheriff supervising a volunteer school safety officer, or the public school system or its employees for any good-faith action taken by them in the performance of their duties with regard to the volunteer school safety resource officer program established pursuant to this section. (2013-360, s. 8.45(e).

This something we can do right now, that will help immediately. If you are in favor of this, please contact County Commission Chair Greg Edds and School Board Superintendent Moody and ask them to cooperate with Sheriff Kevin Auten and implement Rowan’s Volunteer School Safety Resource Officer Program as soon as possible.

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