7:15 p.m. August 12, 2013

COPS: Tax Dollars For Armed Hall Monitors

Most of the attention to Attorney General Eric Holder's speech focuses on the changes towards drug offenders. Buried in it is his touting of the Community Oriented Policing Services program: $1.5 billion over the past four years, and $110 million more on the way to hire new police.

A lot of those cops will be in schools.

For the last few months, I've been researching the zero tolerance regime that's become pervasive across the country (and readers, you'll see more, a lot more, on that in the future). The massive increase in school policing is a major pillar of zero tolerance, nearly every powerful politician seems to love it.

Even as some zero tolerance policies, dating back to the early '90s crime scares or post-Columbine fallout, are finally being repealed or seriously overhauled, the system that mentality birthed is stronger than ever.

There are many, many problems with cops in schools, from arbitrary authority to a lack of training to turning routine disciplinary problems into a criminal record. By 2009, 163 school systems in Texas alone had their own police departments. The COPS program is a key part of zero tolerance, making it far easier for even the smallest local department to at least put a few of its number on heavily-armed hall monitor duty.

But this is one of those ideas with bipartisan support, so it's going to get lauded regardless of how bad it is. Sen. Dianne Feinstein loves more police in schools. So does the NRA. Be very afraid.