Training, Powers & Procedures

By: Gordon Boyd
By: Gordon Boyd

Halls, Knox County (WVLT) - School security officers are a lot more than paid hall monitors, but they're not quite police officers either.

Had this been class time, or a ball-game, Officer Kocur would have had backup from a Knox County Sheriff's Deputy.

Instead, he was protecting a campus from vandals, with two years experience, but without a gun.

With only the power to detain anybody he caught.

All, for $9.51 an hour.

To give neighbors and parents peace of mind this day, two security officers stand guard on the Halls campus, both armed.

Stark contrast to last night.

"Officer Kocur had not completed the second stage of the training," says Chief Steve Griffin, from Knox County Schools Security.

Making him one of only half a dozen, of the two-and-a-half dozen officers on Knox County's School Security force not licensed to carry weapons.

Nor was he wearing a bullet-proof vest.

"It's not school policy at this time to issue the vest," says Griffin.

"When something like this happens, everything gets reviewed. And it's really too early at this time to say what, if any changes will be made. But certainly, we will sit down and go over everything," Griffin says.

For now, school security guards train 13-15 days a year, with Knox County Sheriff's Deputies, covering everything from how to search interview, and arrest suspects.

"We even had some training this year, before school started with the KPD swat team, on building searches, clearing buildings, things like that," Griffin says.

But because security officers aren't sworn law-enforcement officers, they have no arrest powers.

So, when Russell Kocur approached what he called a suspicious person, unarmed, unvested, and alone:

"As far as we can tell, there again, our investigation just began last night, he did what he needed to do," says Griffin.

"We were scared that it might be one of the security guards that we know," Ada Shannon says her children didn't know Officer Kocur, but she and they feel for his families in their loss. The blood relatives, and the blood brothers.

"I feel like you know, when you're walking through the water at the beach, it's hard to make any progress. You feel the water push against you, but I'm okay, we're getting through this, we'll make it," says Griffin.

Though Russell Kocur was not, by strict standards, a law officer, he will be accorded an officer's honors.

Chaplains are counseling his comrades. He'll have a memorial service.

And there'll be a processional before his body is flown home to his family in Texas.


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