Letter: Long Term Treatment and Special Officers Could Improve Society

by Christopher O'Brien
     In light of the horrible tragedy recently in Newtown, I believe it is time that we as a community begin to at least consider an obvious option. If we are willing to hire security guards to protect our money, gold, silver, properties and businesses, why don’t we demand that security (police) be posted in the schools to protect what we value most of all – our children. I understand that some school districts already do this periodically with Officers from their local police departments which is great. However, it is obviously insufficient. It should be regular posting for the foreseeable future.

Personally, I’d suggest at least one security official per school be posted during any school activity. The security officials should be equally trained as well as the police are and hold ‘Peace Officer’ status. This would require them to pass rigorous training and background checks as well as maintaining highly held training qualifications. Having ‘Peace Officer’ status would give them the authority to act and/or arrest individuals when needed without waiting for responding police to arrive. They could be an attachment or sub-group of the local police departments. Similar to an elite task force since their job is to protect what we all hold most dear to our hearts.

To be effective, such a policy would have to be at the state level thereby creating a level of protection where no town/city has less protection than another. This policy would have to be in effect for both public and private schools alike. Has the time not come that we at least begin discussing such an option?

Also, on what may be seen as a more controversial topic, shouldn’t we at least review what diagnosed mental health disorders and their various levels we allow to function in society? Which disorders constitute a clear and present danger to society? We should reevaluate individuals with diagnosed mental health disorders to determine who might be a threat to society and consider institutionalization of anyone deemed a possible threat due to their diagnosed disorder until proper treatment has rectified the disorder or at least the dangerous level of the given disorder. This isn’t meant to be a form of punishment but rather a logical approach to safely treating a disorder and maintaining safety for the community simultaneously. Let’s be pro-active and not re-active when it comes to such matters. I know many people may not agree with this suggestion but I believe that we should at least review our current policies and consider changing them for the safety of our communities.

By Dr. Ron Laone, DBA
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