Hoover Mayor Brocato adds more resource officers, says ‘armed, trained police in schools’ are key
Local and state governments in Alabama are not awaiting action from the federal government, as the nation scrambles to enact policies to prevent more mass shootings like the one that occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last week.
On Monday, the Hoover City Council unanimously approved a request from Mayor Frank Brocato to hire two new reserve school resource officers, an addition that will give Hoover’s school district a total of 28 officers.
“I think having armed, trained police officers in our schools ready to intervene is key,” Brocato told Yellowhammer News.
This move came a day before Rep. Will Ainsworth (R-Guntersville) introduced a bill in the state legislature that would authorize school administration personnel and teachers to carry pistols on campus, a proposal that Mayor Brocato does not support.
“I’m not able to embrace that suggestion at all. I think that’s an incredible burden to put on them,” he said.
“I just simply don’t have any comfort in that particular suggestion. I understand it. In some ways it sounds good and makes sense to have more and more people armed. I just don’t know that that is the position that we should put our teachers in.”
Leaders around the state are demonstrating unity in their desire to do something to better protect our schools, but they are not united on a solution.
Last week, Rep. Ainsworth told Yellowhammer News that providing an adequate number of officers at schools is neither financially nor logistically possible.
“The amount of security you would need to properly do that would be a lot,” he said.
Over the years, Hoover has prioritized school resource officers as a chief safety measure.
“This is a commitment the city has financially,” Brocato said. “We spend about $2 million a year towards this effort.”
The investment may be paying off. An online forum that ranks our nation’s schools and neighborhoods using data measures from various federal and private agencies ranked Hoover City Schools the ‘safest school district in Alabama’ and the fifth safest nationwide.
Mayor Brocato said he doesn’t have all the answers but expressed his confidence that equipping schools with officers will help keep students safe.
“These are Hoover police officers here. They’ve got the highest training you can possibly get. They understand the threat. They understand how to take care of the threat.”