Shortage in law enforcement increases the difficulty of retaining school resource officers

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. — Peoria County Sheriff, Brian Asbell, said law enforcement across the board is starting to see a shortage of police officers. This is affecting the number of resource officers that service schools in the county.

These officers provide security, investigate and build relationships with students.

“Anytime that we can build that trust with the student body they’re the ones that are going to tip us off if something might happen,” Sheriff Asbell said.

Although their positions are beneficial to children working in schools is not every officer’s first choice.

Sheriff Asbell said most officers coming in want to patrol and some think working in the school will limit their chances of securing higher positions in the future.

Also, he adds that there are several issues between communities and the police nationwide and that roles like this, where officers can build relationships with families, could change the narrative.

“We value relationships, it’s those positive encounters that are really going to help us change the criminal justice system to where it needs to be.”

Sheriff Brian Asbell, Peoria County Sheriff

Currently, the sheriff’s office is fortunate to have volunteers at schools, but in the future, they may have to force people into those positions.

However, Sheriff Asbell said that would cause a system failure. He said they never want to put someone in a position that they don’t want to be in because that will decrease the quality of service.

He encourages people to apply at the sheriff’s office, even those with a background in education that may have previously planned to be a teacher.

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