Following reports of an attempted school shooting, a Colorado school district decided to purchase and equip its security officers with AR-15 carbines. The Bushmaster carbines will be stored at the district’s security offices and checked out to officers out on patrol.
“I’m a parent, and I take it very serious,” said Director of Safety and Security Rich Payne to Fox News. “I’m making sure that everybody’s safe in my school district.”
“The weapons currently every day will be inside of a locked safe in a secured room inside the security department. 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,” said Payne. “They will not be in the schools.”
The carbines are there to better serve the officers if they ever have to deal with an active shooter or other violent situation on campus. Other school districts may consider following suit, especially rural districts, where emergency responder times can be slow. “My patrol officers may be the first ones closest to the school.”
“If we were in the city of Denver they have all the resources from local law enforcement,” “They have a lot more officers on the street. Here we don’t have as many officers.” School security officers will with the local sheriff’s department to properly use the rifles before they are issued. The officers already carry handguns on duty.
A growing number of police and security departments issue carbines to their officers, including college and university campus security, but Douglas county is one of the first major public school districts to adopt a similar policy. In 2013, the Fontana Unified District in California purchased similar rifles for their police officers, reported the Washington Post.
The district purchased 10 Bushmaster carbines, vehicle locks and other accessories, for a little over $12,000. When they are not locked in the safe they will be locked in the patrol cars.
Late last year two Colorado girls were accused of plotting a school shooting targeting staff and students at a Douglas County school. Although police found no evidence of any impending criminal activity, the school’s security administrators decided to go ahead and upgrade their security.
Douglas County employs eight security officers and has been working with their local sheriff’s department for close to a year. “They recognized the sheriff’s deputies are often using long rifles during training, and that’s how the discussion began,” said district spokeswoman Paula Hans.