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Push to standardize school resource officer training in Maryland

A National School Resource Officer says "we're running out of time" in their push for a standard SRO training program.

BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. - With yet another mass school shooting, the topic of school resource officers and training has never been more relevant.

On Monday, the D.C. area held a training session in Baltimore County and frustrations were high. One of the training’s co-hosts voiced his agitation that there is still no one set school resource officer training in Maryland.

"It's frustrating because we are losing lives,” said Don Bridges. He's a Baltimore County police officer and president of the National Association of School Resource Officers.

"We have officers that are going to be sent into schools in September. We can't send those officers in the schools without being trained,” Bridges added.

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As president of the NASRO, Bridges is pushing for Maryland to adopt their training -- the one he's co-hosting at the Lutherville Fire House in Baltimore County this week.

The week-long session goes through the psychological and administrative side to being a SRO.

“This is not for that guy who is tired and wants to sit down all day,” Bridges yelled to the room.

Officer James Sounders told WUSA9 he learned something from the "do and do not" portion of the training.

"I'm a very disciplined person. We're not actually in schools to be that disciplinary person, so I definitely have to take a step back on that angle,” said Saunders.

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Bridges argued SROs not going through this training "would be similar to us having tactical officers that didn't go through SWAT school."

Last month Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signed an aggressive school safety bill that called for standard SRO training. The Maryland Center for School Safety is finalizing those details.

Over the phone, the Maryland Center for School Safety’s Executive Director Ed Clarke told WUSA9 they have to have a developed curriculum submitted to the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission on or before Sept. 1.

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The new Maryland law calls for school resource officers to undergo a state-specific training starting Sept. 1, 2019.

Clarke said they are working with NASRO, but Maryland leaders are working to create their own SRO training standard.

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