For Immediate Release:
December 21, 2012
Contact: Gene Voegtlin
Statement of International Association of Chiefs of Police President Craig Steckler
In response to today’s call to place an armed law enforcement officer in every school in the United States, the International Association of Chiefs of Police released the following comment.
“The IACP has long held positions intended to reduce and prevent firearms violence. As police leaders, it is our duty to protect and serve our communities and display the leadership needed to ensure public safety.
While the IACP has long supported the hiring and deployment of School Resource Officers, the simple reality is that after years of cutbacks, hiring freezes and layoffs, the ability to meet this demand is beyond the capabilities of many, if not most, law enforcement agencies. This proposal would be a massive undertaking. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, there are approximately 760,000[i] state and local law enforcement officers in the United States. It is important to recognize that the deployment of at least 1 officer to each of the roughly 100,000 schools in this nation would result in the reassignment of nearly 1/7th of American law enforcement officers.
As an example of what this proposal would mean, in my city of Fremont, California, we have 32 K-6 public schools 5 middle schools and 6 high schools and that does not count multiple private schools. To put one officer in each school would take just over one half of my patrol force
In a broader context, the idea that we are discussing having to put armed law enforcement officers in all of our nation’s schools is a sad commentary on the state of affairs we currently confront. Law enforcement officers represent the last line of defense in a process that should properly be focused on prevention, threat mitigation, and preparation.
That is why the membership of the IACP has been leaders in the effort to promote school safety and protect student, teachers and school employees from harm. In 1999, and again in 2009, the IACP issued our Guide for Preventing and Responding to School Violence. Prepared in cooperation with the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the guide provides a number of strategies and approaches for creating safer schools. In particular the report focuses on steps that law enforcement, teachers, administrators, parents, students and the community can take to prevent school violence. In addition, the report details critical recommendations related to threat assessment, crisis planning, and response during and after an incident. A copy of the report can be found by clicking here or by visiting the IACP website at www.theiacp.org.
The IACP has also been a strong proponent of an effective ban on military style assault weapons, background checks on all gun purchasers, and a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines.
I can assure you that the IACP is committed to working with national leaders to stem the unacceptable level of gun violence in the United States. To honor this commitment, we must all work together towards a solution.”
The IACP is the world’s largest association of law enforcement executives. Founded in 1893, the IACP has over 21,000 members in 100 countries around the world.