JCPS working to hire enough armed officers to comply with state law

A new state law, House Bill 63, requires public school districts in Kentucky to have an armed officer patrolling every school campus.
Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 4:34 PM EDT

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The new school year brings armed officers back to JCPS campuses for the first time since 2019. However, it’s not as many officers as the law requires.

A new state law, House Bill 63, requires public school districts in Kentucky to have an armed officer patrolling every school campus.

There are 165 schools to protect in JCPS. And right now, the district has hired just 15 armed officers.

Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio said the district just took a small step backwards.

“We had five new ones (armed officers) that were going to start (Wednesday),” Pollio said. “Unfortunately, one was hired by the sheriff’s department. So, we ended up starting with four brand new ones (Wednesday) on top of the ones we already have.”

JCPS is not the only school district that’s not in compliance with a new state law. However, it is the largest with a lot of vacancies to fill.

Representative Kevin Bratcher (R-Louisville) was the bill’s sponsor.

“Many school districts around the state, they can’t afford it, or the just don’t have the personnel to fulfill the requirement,” Bratcher said. “But I believe Jefferson County has the money. They might not have the personnel.”

Bratcher said he is disappointed by the lack of progress at JCPS. The district is seeking a total of 30 armed SSOs to be hired this school year.

On Aug. 5, JCPS Chief Operations Officer Chris Perkins talked about ongoing hiring plans.

“Our 14 district security monitors are trained and preparing for acceptance into the Department of Criminal Justice Training Police Academy to become law enforcement officers,” Perkins said. “We’re committed to interviewing candidates and our on-boarding will continue throughout the school year as we continue adding to our ranks.”

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