DOUGLAS COUNTY, Co. (KKTV) - Some school security officers in the Douglas County School District of Colorado will now have semi-automatic long rifles in addition to their handguns.
The district covers 95 schools. The nine high schools in the group each have armed school resource officers who are always there. Eight roaming security officers are the ones getting the semi-automatic long rifles. The officers will keep the rifles locked in their security cars during the day while they go between schools, and locked up in a safe overnight.
Folks affiliate KKTV spoke to have mixed opinions on the rifles:
"I’m very for it, my husband is a teacher and I’m all about their security and making sure that they can keep the kids as safe as possible," Charity Jones said.
"Totally unnecessary, they don't need to have firearms in a school, school is for learning not for weapons," Jason Rosa said.
Last summer the security officers were a part of a joint active shooter drill with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office. The deputies had long rifles and the security officers felt ill-equipped with just handguns.
The district’s director of safety and security, Rich Payne, said they made the decision to buy the rifles just a couple months after the drill.
The 10 Bushmaster semi-automatic long rifles were purchased in January from a police supply company for $12,300. The money came out of the district security’s budget.
“I don't think that you can use violence for violence," Karen Branch said.
"I’m all for protecting the kids and whatever it takes as long as they're properly trained, no problem," Linda Benz said.
The eight officers have former law enforcement experience. They'll all have to go through the same 20-hour training course that sheriff's deputies go through before being issued one of the long rifles.