State law authorizes the placement of local law enforcement or security personnel and establishes clear guidelines and safeguards regarding the appropriate role of officers on school campuses.
Local School Wellness Policy: Guide for Development
This document provides guidance for schools in their development of local wellness policies to meet state and federal requirements, and encourages schools to include the hiring of a district safety officer or school resource officer in their local wellness policy.
Mississippi Administrative Code 7-192 Mississippi School Safety Manual
School Resource Officer (SRO)
Definition: An officer, commissioned by a local law enforcement agency or school district, who has at least three (3) years of full time commissioned law enforcement service and is a graduate of the Basic Law Enforcement Officer Training Program and the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) School Resource Officer Basic Course. This officer shall be supervised by the superintendent or their designee, excluding principals. The officer typically spends 40% of their time in enforcement and security administration, 30% teaching character related education subjects, and 30% mentoring at-risk students.
Duties/Qualifications: Must be at least 24 years of age and have at least three (3) years of law enforcement experience prior to assignment. The SRO is assigned to a school district on a full-time basis. Duties include school safety planning, enforcement, teaching, and mentoring. It is recommended that the SRO have an assigned office space, computer, and phone line. This allows the SRO to have a location to write reports, maintain intelligence logs, communicate with surrounding Law Enforcement for situational awareness, and research items that may provide safety and security to schools. The SRO is expected to be armed and maintain qualifications with the issued weapon every six (6) months. Officers shall be screened for intelligence, ability to teach subjects within their area of expertise, and their ability to interact with students. The SRO is not merely an armed security guard.
Definition: An officer, commissioned by a local law enforcement agency or local school district in accordance with Miss. Code Ann. § 37-3-321 who is a graduate of the Reserve Police Officer Basic Course and is assigned enforcement, security, and safety duties.
Duties/Qualifications: The Campus Enforcement Officer (CEO) is a School Safety Officer that is commissioned by a local law enforcement agency that has law enforcement authority. The CEO has authority to carry a weapon and make arrests. The officer is responsible only for enforcement and safety related activities. The Campus Enforcement Officer is not trained in school safety, planning, classroom teaching, or counseling related duties.
Mississippi Code 21-19-49. Appropriation of funds or conveyance of buildings and property to school districts by local governments; contracts for provision of additional police protection for schools; off-duty law enforcement officers authorized to use public uniforms and equipment for school security purposes; municipalities authorized to donate to public school districts for certain purposes.
(1) The governing authority of any municipality or the board of supervisors of any county are hereby authorized and empowered to appropriate money or dedicate and convey municipally-owned buildings and property or county-owned buildings and property, as the case may be, to the school district or districts situated within that municipality or county for the purpose of erecting, purchasing or otherwise providing the school building or a site for such school building of such school district, in cases where the governing authority or board of supervisors are of the opinion that the location of such school building within the corporate limits of the municipality or the county, or in close proximity thereto, will be of special benefit to the inhabitants of the municipality or county.
(2) Municipalities, municipal police departments and the sheriffs’ departments may contract with the school board of any school district to provide additional Law Enforcement Officers Training Academy-certified police protection to said school district on such terms and for such reimbursement as the school district and the entity may agree in their discretion.
(3) The governing authority of any municipality or the board of supervisors of any county may allow off-duty municipal or county law enforcement officers who are hired individually for security purposes by the school district or districts within that municipality or county to use municipal or county law enforcement uniforms and equipment during such off-duty employment.
(4) The governing authority of any municipality, in its discretion, may donate funds, equipment or in-kind services to any school district located within the boundaries of the municipality to assist the voluntary character development or public service programs of that school district.
Mississippi Code 37-3-82 Mississippi Community Oriented Policing Services in Schools grant program established; purpose; use of funds.
(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 Standard:
- (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. MOCPS 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 determin 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.
- (g) 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 the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers’ Training Academy where they shall be required to participate in training through the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Program at the academy, 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 positions.
(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 2014 Regular Session of the Legislature.
Mississippi Code 37-7-321. Employment and designation of peace officers; minimum level of basic law enforcement training required; operation of radio broadcasting and transmission station; interlocal agreements with other law enforcement entities for provision of certain equipment or services.
(1) The school board of any school district within the State of Mississippi, in its discretion, may employ one or more persons as security personnel and may designate such persons as peace officers in or on any property operated for school purposes by such board upon their taking such oath and making such bond as required of a constable of the county in which the school district is situated.
(2) Any person employed by a school board as a security guard or school resource officer or in any other position that has the powers of a peace officer must receive a minimum level of basic law enforcement training, as jointly determined and prescribed by the Board on Law Enforcement Officer Standard and Training and the State Board of Education, within two (2) years of the person’s initial employment in such position. Upon the failure of any person employed in such position to receive the required training within the designated time, the person may not exercise the powers of a peace officer in or on the property of the school district.
(3) The school board is authorized and empowered, in its discretion, and subject to the approval of the Federal Communications Commission, to install and operate a noncommercial radio broadcasting and transmission station for educational and vocational educational purposes.
(4) If a law enforcement officer is duly appointed to be a peace officer by a school district under this section, the local school board may enter into an interlocal agreement with other law enforcement entities for the provision of equipment or traffic control duties, however, the duty to enforce traffic regulations and to enforce the laws of the state or municipality off of school property lies with the local police or sheriff’s department which cannot withhold its services solely because of the lack of such an agreement.