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Oklahoma state funding makes school resource officer training largest in history

annual school resource officer training
Posted at 5:27 PM, Jun 03, 2024

TULSA, Okla. — Nearly 160 police officers gathered for the Oklahoma Association of School Resource Officers Conference in Tulsa on June 3.

The passage of House Bill 2903, granted each public district in the state approximately $96,000 for security upgrades, made this year's conference the largest in its history.

Sergeant Brandon Hendrix with the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, who also works with the National Association of School Resource Officers, said that funding enabled districts across the state to hire 200 new SROs.

“Each officer could be an excess of a hundred thousand dollars to have an officer in the school,” said Hendrix. “Well, that’s a couple of teachers. It’s always a big budget matter, so like I said, really appreciative of the state for finding it important and funding it.”

Over the three days, presenters, including law experts and FBI agents, are discussing all things related to school safety. This year’s priority topics are school law, mental health for officers, and behavioral threat assessments.
Hendrix said training like this is regularly put into practice in Oklahoma districts and can even save lives.

“I know, personally, there are at least five people in the room that have stopped a school shooting from happening,” he said. “The attacker didn’t have to go to juvenile detention, didn’t have to go to prison, didn’t have to be involved in a mental health agency. [We] just got them counseling and intervened in his life. Got him positive activities to do and were able to redirect that student, and those students are successful in their districts now.”

With so many fatal attacks on schools, the idea is to prepare these officers to prevent the next situation from escalating.

Here's a look at some of the Tulsa Police Department's previous active shooter training:

Active shooter training in Tulsa

Jason Langham serves as the Executive Director of Special Services and School Operations for Bartlesville Public Schools. He said his first year in school administration was the summer after the Columbine shooting.

“I’ve been fortunate to kind of be on the forefront since SROs have been in place,” said Langham. “Part of why it’s so healthy and beneficial for school administrators and SROs to train together is is it is such a relationship-based partnership, and the more time that we have to sit and talk and be able to sharpen the sword, so to speak, the better we are when we get back to our school sites when were working with kids and our teachers.”

Bartlesville Public Schools has an SRO at all 11 district sites. Lieutenant Christopher Mims is the new coordinator of those officers.

Mims told 2 News he's been to training like this before, and knows how critical it is to helping these officers integrate into a school setting.

“They do have to get used to engaging with those students,” said Mims. “Our children are our biggest asset in any community, so we want to provide that safety for our students so they can spend that time learning and not being in fear of what might happen when they go to school.”

Any school in the state who may have missed day one, is able to attend the remainder of the conference.

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