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Southwest Florida Congressman Wants More Cops In Schools


U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Punta Gorda, has joined six other Republican House members in co-sponsoring a bill that would give money to local governments for more police presence in schools.

Rooney says it’s tough to say what exactly could have prevented the mass shooting in a Connecticut elementary school a few months ago, but he says he believes that if the school had a police presence before the shooting, things might have been different.

He says it just makes sense to have cops at schools.

“You go to the mall and there is police officer presence there,” he explains. “You don’t even think about it when you go to the county fairs-- when you go anywhere where there are a lot of people-- there seems to be a law enforcement presence. And you think about some of the schools in our district, there are a lot of people gathered at those schools every day.”

Rooney’s bill would create a grant program where police officials can apply for money to hire additional officers for school security.

Rooney says in the past funding has been the main reason local law enforcement hasn’t put more cops in schools. The congressman says many schools in his district have part time deputies, but can’t afford much more than that.

He says that if the Protect America’s Schools Act passes, funding won’t be a problem and it may stop another shooting from happening.

“When I thought about this, you know, it was one of those things where just thinking of Newtown if there was a deputy sheriff standing at the front door that morning, would Adam Lanza have still tried to get it in,” he asks, “And even if he did would he have gotten as far as he did?”

Ashley Lopez is a reporter forWGCUNews. A native of Miami, she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a journalism degree.