DIXON – Mark Dallas still isn’t comfortable with the hero tag he earned May 16, but he is embracing the platform he’s been given to advocate for more school resource officers.
State Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Channahon, was at City Hall on Wednesday to present Dallas with a copy of the statement on the Dixon school shooting he read into the Congressional Record on May 24.
“One of the worst things that can happen when you’re in Congress is to get a call about a school shooting in your district,” Kinzinger said. “Then I heard that there was a hero who stopped it from becoming a much bigger tragedy.”
Kinzinger read the entire statement he made on the House floor. Dallas then received a standing ovation from about 100 people who were on hand, including Dixon lawmakers state Rep. Tom Demmer and state Sen. Tim Bivins.
Dallas said he shared the honor with school resource officers throughout the nation who wouldn’t hesitate to run into harm’s way to defend the children they are sworn to protect.
“In the next few weeks, children throughout our country will be returning to school. Every one of them deserves to be safe, but sadly, not all of their schools will be protected by school resource officers,” Dallas said.
Dallas thanked Kinzinger for advocating for the use of more officers in the nation’s schools. He said he is excited that more area schools are talking about adding resource officers. Rock Falls schools will have an officer in place this fall, and Morrison soon could have one if its police levy referendum passes in November.
“I’m really excited for Rock Falls because I used to work there in the late ’90s, and I knew they needed one then,” Dallas said. “I hope they get officers in all of the smaller schools because they are needed.”
Kinzinger would like to see some action taken at the federal level to help schools with funding. Although education funding is the state’s responsibility, the financial situation in Illinois makes him doubt that any money will be coming from Springfield.