School District Purchases Semiautomatic Rifles For Security
A school district in central Colorado announced on Monday that it has upped the firepower for its armed security patrol division, reigniting a debate about what some see as the over-militarization of school security personnel.
The Douglas County School District spent $12,300 on 10 semi-automatic Bushmaster rifles and equipment back in January, but several school board members were only notified of the purchase recently, according to the school district's public information officer Paula Hans.
The rifles will be assigned to the district's eight armed security patrol, Hans told ABC News today. She explained that the officers, who already have handguns, still need to go undergo rifle training with the local sheriff's department before they are qualified to use the weapons.
The firearms will not be stored in schools, Payne assured.
“The weapons currently every day will be inside of a locked safe in a secured room inside the security department,” he told KDVR. “They’ll be deployed into a locking mechanism that is inside our patrol vehicles very similar to the locking mechanisms that are inside law enforcement patrol vehicles and they will only be deployed if there is a situation where they need to be deployed.”
All district security officers are required to have previously served as law enforcement officers and train alongside current cops as part of their requirements, according to school system spokeswoman Paula Hans.
The school officers in Douglas County previously only had access to handguns, which are still used by security personnel in school districts in neighboring Aurora, Denver, and Jefferson counties.
“Our main focus is to make sure that all of the students staff parents and community members are safe when they’re on any of our school properties,” Payne said.
There are currently eight armed security officers working for the Douglas County School System, which has 67,000 students.