School Resource Officers in Kentucky

Zach Combest, Website Editor

Shots fired and a person dead led to a high school to lock down.

On Wednesday, March 28, a suspect later named as Jesse Kilgus, 51, of Elizabethtown, shot and killed his wife and raced to John Hardin High School.

Kilgus killed his wife, 46-year-old Ruth Marie Kilgus at their Hardin County home while their children were attending school. A school resource officer (SRO) stopped Kilgus before he could enter the school. The school was placed on lockdown during the incident.

After about five minutes of attempting to negotiate with him, Kentucky State Police says Kilgus raised his handgun in a threatening manner, Kilgus was shot by seven police officers outside of the school in the parking lot. All of the students and staff inside the school was safe.

This event has fueled the conversation about having a full time SRO in all high schools in the state. Not all schools in the state of Kentucky have a SRO. There are approximately 230 SRO’s in over half of Kentucky’s counties according to Kentucky for center of school safety. Here at Bullitt East we have one school resource officer, Sergeant Becky Franklin of the Mount Washington Police Department. Franklin covers all the schools in Mount Washington which includes: Bullitt East, Mt. Washington Middle, Mt. Washington Elementary, Crossroads, Old Mill and Pleasant Grove.

On Wednesday, March 28, she spoke to Fay Anderson’s business law classes. She emphasized the importance of SROs in schools and she stated that she can’t patrol all of the schools as much as she wants too because she also is the D.A.R.E officer for the elementary schools which means she teaches classes along with patrolling the schools. She also stated that the Chief of Police, Roy Daugherty, has spoken to her about hiring at least one more SRO for Mt. Washington to help Franklin with her duties. The Chief of Police did not reply to my request for an interview.  

Looking back on the event at John Hardin High School shows that having a school resource officer in schools can help saves everyone from possible danger. Senior Mikyla Karp believes having a full time officer walking the halls would make her feel safer at school. “I feel like if we had someone here all the time it would be less likely for a current student to shoot up the school if they knew someone was gonna be there to stop them quickly,” said Karp.