The decision by the cash-strapped Stillwater Public School district to discontinue funding for its three school resource officers runs contrary to what other districts – in Oklahoma, and across the country – are doing.
A random survey of school districts in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area suggests, if anything, school administrators are finding ways to add more resource officers, not cut them.
A spokesperson for the Oklahoma City Public School district – the largest district in the state -- says there are 18 school resource officers on the payroll, one for each high school and middle school. District leaders have no plans to reduce that number.
Moore Public Schools has 11 officers, with no cuts planned. In Edmond, there is one for each high school and one for an alternative school, for a total of four.
Norman, Yukon, and Guthrie have three resource officers in their respective districts. Guthrie added two at the start of the current school year, while NPS is asking Norman voters to approve a ballot question that would raise funds to bring their SRO force to 13.
Some school districts, like Lawton, and Tulsa, have their own police forces.
The executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO), Mo Canady, says these numbers reflect a national trend. Since 2011, he says, there has been a nationwide uptick of school districts hiring school resource officers, many of them for the first time. Canady believes much of the increase can be attributed to events like the Sandy Hook school shooting.
NASRO provides training to officers hired by school districts and, Canady says, trained more than 2,000 school resource officers in 2013. He says they'll exceed that number this year. He estimates there are about 14,000 SRO's in total nationwide.