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DeD CHiKn



Joined: 04 Aug 2006
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Location: Baltimore, Maryla*gunshot*

PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fritterdonut wrote:
Question: Do US schools have liaison officers? Like, a school police officer?

My school did, he used to sit in on our law classes and answer questions from students. Other than that, he mostly just patrolled the halls and school grounds, and talked to students who had got caught with drugs or alcohol.

But being a police officer, he was always packing his service pistol, baton, pepper spray, and for a while a taser as well. I guess it seems weird that one side is arguing that we need more guns in schools, while the other side is arguing we need no guns in schools, meanwhile I saw the liaison officer almost every day, either in the halls or in law class, and I never really gave it a second thought.

Funny thing actually, about the taser. He stopped carrying it after the Vancouver airport tasering. We asked him about it, and he said that it was a combination of bad press pushing officers towards not carrying one, and tightening of the police armory's requirements on taking them out on duty - officers had to do a ton of paperwork and get training re-certified every 3-6 months.


We had one. Same, he had his full uniform with him at all times. We also had a second officer, possibly two, that were on bikes for some reason, but I don't believe they were actually cops, more like just security without guns.
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CTrees



Joined: 21 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DeD CHiKn wrote:
We had one. Same, he had his full uniform with him at all times. We also had a second officer, possibly two, that were on bikes for some reason, but I don't believe they were actually cops, more like just security without guns.


We did, too. USA Today article on the current presence of guards/officers in schools. It focuses (at least early on) on how many schools don't have guards, but subtraction gives you the current numbers - thirty percent of schools have a police presence, around 43%have some form of security guard (police or private). Further:

Quote:
Data show urban and suburban schools are far more likely to have security present than town or rural schools. And enrollment is a large factor: 90% of schools with 1,000 or more students had some kind of security presence — most often a resource officer — compared with only 26% of schools with fewer than 300 students.


Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying Wayne Lapierre isn't an idiot (because Lapierre is *definitely* an idiot, and possibly French), but it just seems that the "armed guards in schools is a terrible, dystopian idea, and they'll kill our kids!" side of the argument seems to be undercut by the huge number of schools that already have armed guards. I mean, there's enough of an installed base that we'd be hearing about it if it were as horrible as some in the media are saying. It may be expensive, but... think of the children?

Also, the NRA just released a new iOS shooting game. For ages four and up. So, uh, yeah. Wayne Lapierre is an idiot.
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Adyon



Joined: 27 May 2012
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The idea of Wayne Lapierre NOT being an idiot? That's a hoot.

Yeah, saw the stupid shooting game they released. They're like, "this doesn't count as 'video-game violence', cause we're shooting targets!" To partially quote a video game, as Duke Nukem, it takes "balls of steel" to freaking release a game RIGHT after you tried to lay the problems on the game industry.

They think that just because it offers safety tips, it somehow changes the content? Or just because you're not shooting "fake people", people don't get the same addrenaline rush of completion that comes with games. Which of course brings us to the complicated issue that is the adult side of video games. I think IGN had a good look at the issues at hand, talking about how over the top violence can get in games and movies, but also talking about how the overwhelming majority of gamers are not children anymore, with the average age of gamers now being 37. Page 2 has a particularly interesting talk about violence obsession in general as well as the concept of censorship or not.

---
And yeah, as far as security guards go, like it's said, the idea that police / security presence in schools increases the problem isn't true, as so many schools have security. But Mouse had a very good point on it that it's not fixing the problem. We've got a society in America that changes how people develop mentally. My wife actually has been talking about another issue not being focused on, that our current approach to prescribing drugs that affect brain chemistry, etc in this country vs the rest of the world also are another addition. While working on her Doctorate, she started to realize just how many drugs we don't understand at all, beyond "OH it does [x]". Sure, there's some testing, but as far as brain chemistry and lasting affects, frankly...We don't know shit.

That's not a big one we're likely to see much of in the media though, since most of the drug companies own most of the US infrastructure. And look at how Coke is having to address growing concerns from the public as people grow more health conscious with obesity. The last thing the drug companies want to do is have the media post ANYTHING at all about how bad our REAL knowledge is of how chemicals affects us as humans.

I mean, we don't even truly understand how Tylenol/acetaminophen works. We have a good guess, but when it comes down to it, we really don't understand it. With all that and how often we rely on drugs to fix problems, and considering how little care we take to watching people's mental health, we have tons of people in pain, confused and not prepared to be exposed to the common things other humans take in without issue.
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CTrees



Joined: 21 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, I certainly agree.

I just think, prevention is a long, difficult process (but one which we're actually making good progress towards-see how the violent crime rates have plummeted over the past several decades), and some treatment is also worth at least considering.
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Adyon



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah I agree actually. Right now, the idea of simple security in schools is a good plan, where we can focus on changing our society. I know it won't prevent everything, as in the fact that "mental state" being the big issue also means some may not care that there's security, but in the case of our recent shootings, some of them might have been affected if they simply were more afraid to do it by knowing security was present. But who knows?

The REAL problem is that we have a very complicated world now, full of conflicting information, new inventions and drugs, pressure, impossibilites, uncertainties, and overall one thing you change in a good way causes other problems in a different way.

For instance, one of my thoughts would be to forgo the lost "war on drugs" for more spending towards school protection, decriminalize drugs like marijuana for taxes and to take money out of drug dealers hands, thus decrease violence associated with them. But truly, while I think that's a smart move, we really have no idea how that would play out. Would it cause more marijuana to be used in bad ways, leading to changes in behavior of society that leads to more violence? My known knowledge about how marijuana directly changes developing people leads me to believe it would at most lead to more suicides and less massacres, but honestly and truly, I don't know. Nor does anyone really. We can only guess. Especially when you take into account the other chemicals we take into our bodies in combination.
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Monkey Mcdermott



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No the real problem is that you have to have the kind of security who is willing to unleash a preemptive strike on what amounts to little more than a kid in order to actually prevent a school shooting.


Which means you have to hire people who are already willing to kill some young person.
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Adyon



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually I think that's the exact kind of security you don't want to hire in the case of schools.

It comes down to what I do think is a huge problem with our police force though, with abuse of power, etc. It's the type of person the job attracts. Necessary roles that have to be filled end up in the wrong hands for many reasons. I posted before about the security that worked at my school, and he was a great guy. He was caring, and if something like this would have happened, he'd have been the type to try and talk them down first, unless they were someone actively about to kill more people. That's what we need. People that are trained more as negotiators but capable of acting if need be. It's a different role than simply a security as we define it, but it's how many schools do security right.

I just don't think it's fair to leave it to teachers. Because that's another way I've seen in local schools I've worked with. Instead of security, they're hiring teachers based on whether or not they can talk down kids who have emotional problems. While I'm not saying that it's wrong to hire a teacher capable of that at all, I think it's sad I've seen some teachers being hired for this role instead of simply security. This of course is only the case with the smaller or more "low budget" schools.

But in some cases, we're seeing the wrong type of security hired, with dictatorship style guards patrolling the grounds. This is the type of thing that could be addressed if we were able to talk about the idea of security in schools on a national level, with setting up regulations on the type of people for security and even its roles in relation to the students. If we can't think of the topic on a bigger level, individual schools are free to put in more of a loose definition of security to whatever fits there particular administration's fancy.
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Monkey Mcdermott



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well it's the kind I don't want to see there, and you might want not to see there, but it's also easy to disregard that columbine did have armed security.

If the route we as a society take means arming people to prevent further school shootings, you're going to have to have people willing to shoot the kid before he can start using his own gun. Otherwise all its doing is either nothing (like columbine) or minimizing the damage (by shooting the kid AFTER he begins his rampage)


For me this is an unacceptable solution put forth by people who continue to try to live in a black and white world with bad guys and good guys.
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Adyon



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's true that it's not going to dissuade everyone, just the presence of a school guard. I'm saying it's better to have someone staffed that can respond rather than what schools are actively doing now, with lower budget schools opting to hire teachers with the expectation of THEM being capable of dealing with the issues. If we had regulated, government sponsored programs like we have with our standard police force, I feel it would be better.

Though, as for you mentioning Columbine, that's a case where having that armed security didn't amount to him being killed, but he exchanged fire with Eric Harris twice, slowing him down and putting pressure on them. Even if it doesn't amount to much, he likely saved lives by being there still, even if it was only a couple. Maybe more. Who knows. That's the thing with history...we can only speculate from situations with VERY different actors.

I just think there's things we spend money on, as far as police force, already that could be redistributed elsewhere such as directly at schools.

Of course it doesn't change the fact that this isn't the solution at all to the problem. Just little extra measures. It's just like how the proposed solutions, all the way to assault weapon bans wouldn't have stopped Columbine. I'd say we were better off before we had a society that glorified violence, but when it comes down to it, that goes back as far as written stories existed. Maybe we had it right early on in television history when we made it hard to show intense violence/sex, as it doesn't matter how hard you safeguard your kids, they can still see it, though the shear amount parents don't bother to watch their kids AT ALL is kinda crazy. I don't know. I still think most studies show very little link between violent tv/games and actual behavior, but it may be because society and culture as a whole has become that way.
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mouse



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CTrees wrote:
It may be expensive, but... think of the children?


well, let's think about the money for a minute. and what people are going to expect for the money they pay.

a lot of school systems are laying off teachers, because of budget cuts. if the budget must be stretched to add security, that means laying off even more teachers. is that really the sort of school we want?

but what sorts of guards are we going to hire? if you are thinking of someone who is going to be able to deal with an armed gunman, either talking him down or shooting him down, you are talking something like a hostage negotiator/SWAT team thing. i suspect people with those skills are going to be expensive. if they are providing security at all the entrances, you are probably going to need more than one. and that is all they are going to do. you are going to be spending a lot of money to protect against something that, in all likelihood, is not going to happen (there are what, 100,000 public schools in the U.S.? how many mass school shootings do we average a year?). so i have to wonder - are school districts willing and able to shell out that kind of money, or will they take shortcuts - hire fewer people, or less qualified people. then, if it really happens - is there really going to be the protection people expect?

i love the idea of a liaison officer - someone with hands-on experience in law enforcement, who can act as a teaching resource, and also as someone kids can go to, if they have questions or problems. but that's a different skill-set. and as soon as you have those expectations of your security officer, they are no longer available to watch the entrances at all times, and to respond immediately if something happens. in this case, i think your money is better spent - but it's for the other things you are getting, you still are getting major security.

the stats trees cites, about large urban schools being more likely to have security interests me. it may be that those schools have more money - but it may also be that those schools are expecting more problems - more "crimes" - on a day-to-day basis, just as a large city gets more crimes than a small one. so things like arguments that turn into fist-fights, but also things like food fights, probably involvement in general school security (like preventing theft and assessing fire hazards). and probably at least some concern about things that can lead to shootings, like gang activities. those guys are probably closest to what la pierre (seriously, pierre? guy is definitely french) is envisioning. i guess we can use them to assess how effective such a force would actually be. it would also be interesting to see how such forces are distributed - are they more likely to be present in areas with gang problems? with overcrowded schools? and will that make them a good model for schools in other circumstances? are they a good return on investment?

prevention _is_ hard - it means understanding causes, and knowing what to look for, so you can step in before the situation gets bad. and it, also, is expensive. i guess my real fear, if we go the armed-guard route, is that people will say "well, that's solved" and stop there (or point to the fact that the budget can't handle things like hiring in new school psychologist, because they have to pay for the security guards).

but still - baseline practicality. when money for education is tight, do you really want to spend it on security guards, or on teachers?
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fritterdonut



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, liaison officers are I think by definition police officers, and I'm pretty sure it's a position that you have to volunteer for. They are police officers, paid for from the police budget, not security guards payed for by the school.

It's funny, I lived in a municipality that had ~99,000 residents, but our municipal police force (We don't use the RCMP, we hired our own police force) only has ~150 sworn members, and 65 civilian staff. The US has a national average of 256 police per 100,000 people.

Considering our department was so small, was servicing a physically large area (rural/suburban, seperated by long stretches of highway), and still managed to find enough officers for every school to have a liaison officer, I'm impressed.

Also, our liaison officer was a pretty chill guy. It was always fun to see his reaction (he was a conservative) to our law teacher's questions/comments (our law teacher was a liberal). And considering that outside of school he was still an on-duty cop, I think if it came to a real emergency he'd still be pretty well trained to deal with it. Law enforcement are trained to deal with people who might be homicidal, suicidal, possibly intent on harming themselves or others. They also have tools to deal with it if it escalates, and the training to use them - tasers, pepperspray, batons, and ultimately firearms, if it gets that far. I'd take a police officer over an private armed security guard any day, as far as training and experience goes.

Of course, Canada doesn't have armed security guards, except for some very special circumstances (mostly related to armored car guards and the like).
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mouse



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ok - but again, there is still a potential budget issue. cities are also laying off police officers (and firemen, and other safety-types). so again - if the budget doesn't allow keeping a full compliment of people, is sidelining some of those people into another area really going to improve things?

police officers are definitely going to be better at handling emergencies - they spend months training to learn that. which again, is why they cost more than a rent-a-cop.
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CTrees



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Obama released his twenty-three executive order on gun control. I'm actually pretty okay with all of them, though I think it's pretty funny that the "incentivizing the hiring of school resource officers" is included, despite how much crap the Democratic party and the liberal side of the news was giving the NRA for that.

Certainly wasn't the Order 9066 some people were worried about, and potential legislation? Being pushed through the Congress that couldn't even reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act? Fat chance.
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Sam



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's very little issue with cops in schools. I'm generally okay with it. The NRA's proposal was a couple leagues beyond trained and certified police officers, though. It delved into the recommendation that schools be allowed to have armed volunteers.
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mouse



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

well, obama never said he was against having armed guards in schools - just that he didn't think it was the ultimate solution.

i am really happy that he put in the one about allowing the government to get back to collecting data on gun violence. the nra will never believe the results, but maybe it will educate the average citizen some.
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