KPD Resource Officers Withdrawn

Knoxville City Police officers will likely -not- be serving as school resource officers after this year. You can see a previous post that has quotes and copies of memos. Here’s my take on it, and it’s my own opinion.. you are entitled to yours:
The withdrawal comes after a shooting inside Austin East High School, where a Knoxville Police officer stopped an attack by an armed student. That police officer ended a threat of life or serious injury to others. We will never know the true intent of the teenager who was shot dead inside a school toilet that officials indicated was a place described as a “hang out” for him. Not only was his Glock pistol loaded, there was more ammunition in a magazine in his backpack.
There was a string of student deaths before the police shooting of a student inside Austin East. The only thing that changed was where the violence took place. This time, the kid with a gun was inside a school. The previous times, the killings took place in the same general area of town… just not in a school.
Nothing changed, except police were inside a school the same time as a perpetrator, who at the least was carrying a pistol, and at worst was planning a shooting inside the school… in the same area.
The Los Angeles Times reported the police involved shooting happened in a school on what the newspaper called in these exact words, “the black side of town.” That kind of description is inflammatory to those who might not realize the incidents of black-on-black violent crime. On its face, it implies that law officers recognize they are on “the black side of town” either investigating a death, or preventing another one. It also ignores the fact that in the A. E. shooting, the police officer who fired the fatal shot was black.
School resource officers are an important tool in not only keeping the peace e but also keeping a relationship with the students. It’s that mutual bond of trust that helps maintain a safe environment, even in, as the L.A. Times called it” the black side of town.”
Bullets do not have eyes. They are an extension of intent. Bullets are the business end of either evil doers, or those who are trying to stop it. The chunk of heavy metal traveling at 12 hundred feet per second is no picker of people. Look at the trajectory of the round, trace it back to the eyes, and into the mindset of who fired it.
Death has no eyesight. I have looked at the eyes of people who have been shot to death, both white people, and people of color. The eyes are vacant, staring at nothing, with no recognition of anything except that the life is gone. Mothers of gunshot victims, young and old, grieve the same way. And when the ghastly news is told to loved ones … a law officer and a chaplain at the doorstep…dead is dead.
To be sure, schools need resource officers who can adapt to the neighborhood. You can’t be blind as to what a community is like beyond the boundaries of the campus. A successful resource officer knows the school, like a patrol officer knows the beat. That knowledge can derail problems before they develop.
But there’s no time to cultivate a relationship when a kid comes to a school armed. Video does not lie, it shows the student at A.E., hand in a pocket, and there’s a hole in that jacket where one slug ripped through on its way to the side of a trash can.
There have already been demonstrations. But you haven’t seen anything like what is about to happen to Knoxville when lawsuits are filed, and the words like “the black side of town” are slung against any medium that will listen.
But bullets and guns don’t recognize “the black side of town”, nor will the presence, or the absence of a law officer change their trajectory. The recipe to prevention and life saving includes school resource officers as a bridge…but it cannot include an express lane for political consideration, nor can it include tolerance of what is happening in our community.
Young people have died. Forget which “side of town”. Dead. Is. Dead. We cannot fix what put those young people already in the ground. We can only use every tool in the box to try to prevent more deaths. And one important tool … the knowledge and training of a school resource officer is about to be discarded.
And I warn you, we had better address the mental health, and domestic situations of students years before the point where they pull the trigger… the little bulge on a Glock trigger that is a safety… then the larger trigger that sends a bullet from the muzzle… into a trash can… or into another kid.

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