Lawmaker mulls bill to post officers at Colo. schools
GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado – Colorado Sen. Steve. King is drafting a bill that would help put a school resource officer at every school that wants one.
King told The Daily Sentinel in a story published Saturday that his measure would provide some state aid for resource officers, but the bulk of the money would come from the school district and the local community.
“If I’d have my way, we’d have a school resource officer in every school in the state,” King said.
King made his comments Friday following National Rifle Association Chief Executive Officer Wayne LaPierre’s call for Congress to place an armed police officer in every school across the country.
Grand Junction Police Chief John Camper says the NRA’s proposal has merit, but raises questions that include whether the community wants an armed officer at every school.
“Would they work for the school district or city?” he asked. “Would they be security guards, or would they be POST (Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training) certified and have arrest powers?”
Resource officers are typically sworn police officers who are assigned to schools. Between 19 public and three private schools, Grand Junction police have two school resource officers with a primary focus on Grand Junction High School. A third officer is being added to the department’s school resource beat next month.
The idea of armed guards at all schools got a lukewarm reception at School District 51.
“That’s a large organization coming up with a blanket solution and we respect that,” District 51 spokeswoman Christy McGee said of the NRA proposal. “We’re open to ideas, but we want to find a solution that’s best for our community locally.”
Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey said he supports arming some teachers or staff in schools under a tightly controlled program.
“If you did it under the right protocols, it makes sense to me,” Hilkey said, telling the Sentinel that some teachers have privately expressed a desire to conceal-carry firearms in the classroom.
“I think it could be done in a professional way that sort of shakes hands with local law enforcement,” he said.
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