Howard County Executive Recommends Removal Of School Resource Officers From Middle Schools, Announces Other Changes To Program

As calls for police reform echo across the country, Howard County is trying to figure out what the future of its school resource officer program looks like.

Video Transcript

- Howard County Schools may soon remove its resource officers. County executive, Calvin Ball, made that recommendation today, along with other changes to the SRO program. WJZ is live tonight. Stetson Miller tells us all about how this program could actually look much different come fall. Stetson.

STETSON MILLER: Hey, there Nicole. County Executive Ball says these recommendations come after input from parents, students, and teachers of the SRO program. And he says, it's somewhat of a compromise between those that want SRO's, and those that don't.

As calls for police reform echo across the country, Howard County is trying to figure out what the future of its school resource officer program looks like.

CALVIN BALL: The school to prison pipeline has sparked debate as to whether the presence of school resource officers exacerbates persistent concerns.

STETSON MILLER: The county has 19 SRO's that have been working in its middle and high school, since the program started in 1996. Some are calling for them to be eliminated now. But County Executive Calvin Ball is recommending changes to the program, including removing SRO's for middle schools, but requiring them to wear body worn cameras, and transitioning their uniforms to polos and khakis to make them more approachable.

CALVIN BALL: I think this is a reasonable compromise, as we continue to evaluate.

STETSON MILLER: But Delegate Reid Novatny says, these changes are not right for the county's public schools.

REID NOVOTNY: County Executive, I think, is still following what is the National narrative about police and police reform.

STETSON MILLER: He says, SRO's could help foster positive relations between police and young people. And they do more good than bad for students.

REID NOVOTNY: This is a critical opportunity to foster this relationship at a young level. I think the SRO's provide much more positive impact than they ever do negatively. And the statistics here locally really do prove that out.

STETSON MILLER: The decision to make the changes or eliminate the SRO program is ultimately up to the Howard County Board of Education. They will vote on them at our next meeting on April 29.

And County Executive Ball did not specify specifically why he would like to remove SRO's from the middle schools. He just said it was a compromise. But you can take a look at all of the changes or the recommendations that they are asking for by heading to our website, wjz.com. [? Now, look at ?] [? cities. ?] Stetson Miller for WJZ.