Ohio sheriff suggests arming ex-cop teachers

CINCINNATI - A southwest Ohio sheriff proposed Thursday arming former police officers who go into teaching as a solution for improving school safety.

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones said Thursday he had sworn in a retired Mason, Ohio, city police officer as a special deputy. The man, Scott Miller, was recently certified as a substitute teacher.

Jones calls the arrangement a "two for one," meaning the special deputies can carry guns and make arrests, and as retired officers, the teachers would already have law enforcement training and experience.

"It's another avenue for getting armed personnel who are properly trained into the schools," he said. "Somebody has got to do something."

It's unlikely enough police-turned-teachers could staff every school but Jones says knowing a school could have an armed substitute teacher on any given day would deter criminals. He said besides retired officers, there are many officers laid off in budget cuts in recent years who might want to get into teaching.

Jones' proposal would be subject to school boards' approval. He said he has contacted several school officials already and gotten some positive feedback.

A message for comment was left Thursday for the Hamilton City Schools district in the Butler County seat.

Jones has gotten national attention previously for a high-profile campaign against illegal immigration.

Meanwhile, Ohio officials in Columbus on Thursday held the first of five planned regional training events meant to help educators spot warning signs and how to prepare for and respond to school shooting situations. Across the state, schools are considering ways to better defend against shooting attacks like at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut last month and Chardon High School in northeast Ohio a year ago.
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