FRANKFORT, Ky. — The ACLU of Kentucky wants Kentucky School Resource Officers to wear body cameras if they are carrying weapons.
The request was made as members of the House Education Committee heard testimony on Senate Bill 8, which would require all SRO’s carry weapons.
“I ask you take an additional step and also require SRO’s to wear body cameras. SROs should turn them on when they respond to an incident and have a reviewing body to look at the footage when SROs have any type of physical contact with students,” said Keturah Herron, a field organizer for ACLU. “I believe this will give protections to SROs, school districts, and students.”
Bill sponsor Sen. Max Wise, R-Campbellsville, did not say whether this is something he would consider. But told members of the committee this bill is the best way to ensure the safety of all students at Kentucky schools.
“We want to make sure our schools are secure with the appropriate personnel within those school walls, so Senate Bill 8 says that school resource officers shall be armed with a firearm,” he said. “We did not go down the path last session of arming teachers, we did not go down the path last session of arming volunteers but we did say we would have sworn law enforcement officers as SROs within our school walls.”
SB 8 builds on 2019’s Senate Bill 1, the School Safety and Resiliency Act. While it requires each SRO be armed, it changes the requirement of having one SRO per school instead of changing the requirement to one SRO per campus. The measure also requires schools to have at least one counselor for every 250 students in the district.
The bill does not allow for local school boards to opt-out of arming officers which caused concern from some members as well as asserting more guns into schools.
The bill passed with five no votes and now heads to the House floor for consideration.