SRO training mandate gets mixed reaction from Wake sheriff

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Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison (WTVD)

The law enforcement official with one of the largest contingents of school resource officers in the state has mixed emotions about a proposed new statewide requirement for training of all SROs.

"Anything that we can come about that is consistent that will help us in law enforcement and that will help the management of the schools, I think it's great," Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison told ABC 11.

But while Harrison likes the idea, he hasn't heard how it will be funded so he doesn't know if his budget will have to bear the brunt of the expense.

"The thing that hits me is when are they going to require them to go to school? Before or after they go to work? There's a lot of logistics that I don't know right now and the bottom line is money," the sheriff said, and he added, "The money is the biggest thing. Do I have the manpower to do it?"

Harrison says the devil is in the details of the state Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission vote to require statewide mandatory SRO training.

He is, however, in favor of ideas that promote consistency when it comes to school safety measures.

His deputies are SROs at 22 middle schools and one high school in the state's largest school district the Wake County Public School System.

That may be one of the reasons he was appointed as co-chair of the new state Special Committee on School Shootings.

At the committee's first meeting, he talked about consistency especially when it comes to SROs in Wake County.

He thinks the school system should have its own police force.

"There's so many things that (could be more consistent) if a person was in control of the school system here - one chief. Right now you've got 10 chiefs of police and one sheriff running the SRO's. It needs to be something that is very consistent, something that one person is in control of," he said.

North Carolina's governor has asked for extra money for school safety measures in his proposed budget.

Many are watching the legislature, which returned to Raleigh last week to see what measures are funded.
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