2022 Regular Session
To: Education; Appropriations
By: Representative McKnight
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 37-3-82, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE MISSISSIPPI COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING SERVICES IN SCHOOLS (MCOPS) GRANT PROGRAM TO REQUIRE SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICERS TO ATTEND ANY LAW ENFORCEMENT ACADEMY ACCREDITED BY THE MISSISSIPPI BOARD ON LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER STANDARDS AND TRAINING THAT EMPLOYS ONE OR MORE TRAINERS CERTIFIED TO TEACH SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICER AND ACTIVE SHOOTER RESPONSE COURSES; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 37-3-82, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-3-82. (1) There is hereby established the Mississippi Community Oriented Policing Services in Schools (MCOPS) grant program in the State Department of Education to provide funding, pursuant to specific appropriation by the Legislature therefor, to assist law enforcement agencies in providing additional School Resource Officers to engage in community policing in and around primary and secondary schools. The MCOPS program shall authorize the State Department of Education to make grants to increase deployment of law enforcement officers in order (a) to increase or enhance community policing in this state, (b) that trained, sworn enforcement officers assigned to schools play an integral part in the development and/or enhancement of a comprehensive school safety plan, and (c) that the presence of these officers shall provide schools with a direct link to local law enforcement agencies.
(2) The MCOPS program shall meet the following requirements and standards:
(a) This program shall provide an incentive for law enforcement agencies to build collaborative partnerships with the school community and to use community policing efforts to combat school violence and implement educational programs to improve student and school safety.
(b) The additional School Resource Officers must devote at least seventy-five percent (75%) of their time to work in and around primary and secondary schools, in addition to the time that School Resource Officers are devoting in the absence of the MCOPS in Schools grant.
(c) Beginning with the 2019-2020 school year, the MCOPS in Schools program shall provide a minimum state contribution of up to Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00) per officer position over the one-year grant period, to be matched from local funds on a 50/50 matching basis. Officers paid with MCOPS funds may be employed by the local law enforcement agency or by the local school district. MCOPS funds may be used to pay for entry-level salaries and benefits of newly trained additional School Resource Officers and may be used to pay the salaries and benefits of School Resource Officers employed prior to July 1, 2013. All jurisdictions that apply must demonstrate that they have primary law enforcement authority over the school(s) identified in their application and demonstrate their inability to implement this project without state assistance. Schools or law enforcement agencies may not reduce its overall federal, state, locally funded level of sworn officers (including other School Resource Officers or other sworn officers assigned to the schools) as a result of applying for or receiving MCOPS in Schools grant funding. MCOPS in Schools funding may be used to rehire sworn officers previously employed who have been laid off for financial reasons unrelated to the availability of the MCOPS in Schools grant, but must obtain prior written approval from the State Department of Education. MCOPS in Schools funding may be used to train school resource officers. In order to be eligible for such program, each local school board desiring to participate shall apply to the State Department of Education by May 31 before the beginning of the applicable fiscal year on forms provided by the department. The State Department of Education shall determine by July 1 of each succeeding year which local school districts have submitted approved applications for School Resource Officer funding.
(d) School Resource Officers (SROs) may serve in a variety of roles, including, but not limited to, that of a law enforcement officer/safety specialist, law-related educator, and problem-solver/community liaison. These officers may teach programs such as crime prevention, substance abuse prevention, and gang resistance as well as monitor and assist troubled students through mentoring programs. The School Resource Officer(s) may also identify physical changes in the environment that may reduce crime in and around the schools, as well as assist in developing school policies which address criminal activity and school safety.
The application must also include a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed by the law enforcement executive and the appropriate school official(s), to document the roles and responsibilities to be undertaken by the law enforcement agency and the educational school partner(s) through this collaborative effort. The application must also include a Narrative Addendum to document that the School Resource Officer(s) will be assigned to work in and around primary or secondary schools and provide supporting documentation in the following areas: problem identification and justification, community policing strategies to be used by the officers, quality and level of commitment to the effort, and the link to community policing.
All agencies receiving awards through the MCOPS in Schools program are required
to send the School Resource Officer position(s) funded by this grant, to * * *
law enforcement academy accredited by the
Mississippi Board on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Training that
employs one or more trainers certified to teach school resource officer and
active shooter response courses, with the cost to be defrayed from the
MCOPS program. The MCOPS Office of the State Department of Education will
reimburse grantees for training, per diem, travel, and lodging costs for
attendance of required participants up to a maximum of One Thousand Two Hundred
Dollars ($1,200.00) per person attending. Applicants receiving an MCOPS in
Schools grant, will receive additional training information following
notification of the grant award. The MCOPS in Schools training requirement
must be completed prior to the end of twelve-month grant funding for officer
(3) The State Department of Education shall promulgate rules and regulations prescribing procedures for the application, expenditure requirements and the administration of the Mississippi Community Oriented Policing Services in Schools (MCOPS) program established in this section, and shall make a report on the implementation of the MCOPS program with any recommendations to the 2020 Regular Session of the Legislature.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2022.