The shooting of a suspected burglar by a Pasadena (Texas) school police officer appears to have triggered an immediate scrutiny of school police officers as much as it did a scrutiny of the shooting itself.
The suspect, an eighth-grader, was shot by the officer who responded to a school trailer burglar alarm at 12:30 a.m. on an intermediate school campus. The officer responded and found the suspect on scene at the break-in. The suspect was shot when confronted.
The fact that Tuesday’s shooting was the first time a firearm has been used by a Pasadena school police department officer since the department was created in 1981 seemed to be a secondary focus to some who instead seemed focused on whether school police should be armed with firearms or if they should exist at all. This should not be surprising given the backdrop of an ACLU and at least one other “social justice” special interest group report from last year that were critical of school police in Texas.
As I explained to the Houston Chronicle reporter who interviewed me for the story, the focus of the scrutiny of this incident should be no different than that of any other officer-involved shooting: Was the shooting justified? It is the shooting, not the type of department he/she belongs to, that should be the focus of questioning.
As to the issue of whether a school police officer should or should not be armed with a firearm, my answer was simple: If a school police officer is a certified police officer working for a certified law enforcement agency, why should he or she be automatically considered as second class police officers and why would anyone lower the standard of their professional by taking away a basic tool of their field: Their firearm?
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