Proposed Tennessee House Bill Would Allow Schools To Hire Retired Officers, Veterans As SROs (Update 2.13.24)

***Update 2.13.24 – Action was deferred on HB1899 last week and moved to the “School Safety Calendar.” No information yet available for the date of hearing.***

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The Tennessee Conservative Staff –

The House K-12 Subcommittee is set to hear potential legislation that would allow school systems to hire retired law enforcement officers and veterans to fill school resource officer positions.

House Bill 1899 (HB1899), sponsored by Representative Tim Rudd (R-Murfreesboro-District 34), would authorize LEAs and public charter schools to hire “retired law enforcement officers who are retired from a federal, state, or local law enforcement agency and honorably discharged veterans of the United States armed forces” to be school resource officers.

The House K-12 Subcommittee will consider the bill on Tuesday, February 6.

If the legislation passes, it could relieve SRO staffing issues that some school systems have faced. As The Tennessee Conservative previously reported, some districts were forced to provide officers with hours of overtime to patrol schools, meaning there were potentially not enough officers available to hire them for those positions full-time. 

The proposed bill would allow them to select school resource officers from a pool of retired officers.

It would also leave school systems like Metro Nashville no excuse as to why they have yet to put officers in some of their schools. Back in August, it was reported that Dr. Adrienne Battle, director of Metro Nashville Public Schools, was reluctant to place SROs in elementary schools, despite parents “pleading” for them.

Related legislation from Representative Joey Hensley (R-Chapel Hill-District 92) would give law enforcement agencies the authorization to assign officers to schools, even if they had not requested one. The House K-12 Subcommittee will consider this bill on Tuesday as well.

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