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Contee: Officers needed in schools to reduce violence after recent shootings involving teens

By the year 2025 there will be no more school resource officers in schools in the District due to a recent decision.

WASHINGTON — Crime involving juveniles in the District has seen an uptick over the recent years and DC Police Chief Robert Contee says it is time to revisit having school resource officers (SROs) in schools to help curb those numbers.

On Wednesday, three teens were injured in two different shootings that both happened near schools, one in Northeast and the other Southeast. The shooting victims are now recovering from their injuries and one 15-year-old has been arrested, but the chief feels these incidents could of been avoided. 

When asked about the Aug. 31 shooting incidents in a press conference, Contee brought up that not long ago a decision was made to reduce the amount of school resource officers in D.C. public and charter schools.

"As of July 1, we have had to reduce our school resource officers down to about 60 school resource officers," Chief Contee said.

District of Columbia Public Schools serves more than 51,000 students across 117 schools, according to a fact sheet from the school. Currently, the police department is providing SROs to those schools using a cluster model meaning a reduced number of officers each year. 

"For the next three years we are required to reduce school resource officers by 20 until we don't have any school resource officers," the chief said.

By 2025, the SRO program will be ending. This is part of a plan from the D.C. Council to phase out and reduce the number of officers in schools.

But, Chief Contee believes this is the wrong decision. He stated that incidents like the Wednesday shootings involving the teens underscores the importance of having these officers in schools to interact with the students and understand when there are disputes happening.

"It's unfortunate, I am hearing some information right now that it may have been some kind of dispute between these individuals yesterday that did not occur in the school," Chief Contee said. "You have heard me say, that situations that often times start in the community will bleed over into the school."

The police department is not alone on their stance for SROs in schools, some parents and guardians agree that would be the right move for the District.

"They need those [SROs] in every school, not just the high schools, they need them now in elementary schools as well, because things go on in elementary schools that's overlooked," Janice Williams, who was picking up her niece from school on the day of the recent shootings, said. "These kids don't need to wake up and say they don't want to go to school, because 'because'."

Watch Next: Watch Live: Two teens were injured in shootings near IDEA public charter school in Northeast D.C.

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