Alabama Senate approves armed security at schools

State / Regional

UNEDITED PRESS RELEASE : 

MONTGOMERY, Ala.The Alabama Senate today approved a bill by Senator Tim Melson (R-Florence) to allow local school boards of education to hire retired law enforcement officers to serve as armed school security staff, provided they possess 25 years of experience, have completed active shooter prevention training approved by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, and have completed a firearms certification course.

“This is a win-win for Alabama’s schools. I appreciate Senator Melson carrying this bill that will allow qualified, retired law enforcement officers to serve as armed school security guards,” said Dr. Tom Sisk, Superintendent of the Limestone County School System. “In Alabama, we have a lot of retired FBI agents, state troopers, and police officers, many of whom also have extensive military experience. Senator Melson’s bill will allow the schools to have a larger pool of qualified security officers from which to draw.”   

Current law allows retired officers to serve as school security staff, but retired officers without Alabama Peace Officers’ Standards and Training (APOST), which can take weeks to complete, cannot be armed.

“Protecting the children of Alabama is of paramount importance. School security has to be improved and this is a real solution that will put more highly qualified officers in schools throughout the state,” Melson said. “I have worked closely with Representative Phillip Pettus on this, and we have had numerous meetings with superintendents and teachers — their input has been key, and I appreciate the Senate passing this measure. I expect that the bill will have smooth passage in the House of Representatives.”

Senate Bill 255 now goes to the House of Representatives. Thursday marks the 11th of 30 possible legislative days in the 2019 regular session.

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