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Educators Say No to Armed Guards

Mid-Missouri educators say local schools will likely never have armed guards.Weeks after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut school safety remains a hot topic. Some schools in Florida and California brought in armed guards to help protect students, and plan to keep them for the rest of the school year.But as far as doing that in local schools, Columbia School Board President Dr. Tom Rose says “I don’t think we’re anywhere near doing that.”Dr. Rose says the district is also “way far” from arming administrators.Boone County Detective Tom O’Sullivan agrees the district should be.”Would you want one of us teaching Algebra?” O’Sullivan offered in comparison.Right now four armed Boone County deputies are assigned to four county schools. O’Sullivan says professionals are the better option.”Obviously these deputies that we have in the schools are trained, veteran, professional officers,” O’Sullivan said.Rose says,” I think the one thing [the district] is going to look closer at is our two security people that are retired police officers…allowing them to be armed.”Still, both say having armed officers in every school would be nearly impossible.Columbia Police have about 160 sworn officers and CPS has about 30 buildings. Having an officer in each building would minimize the police force by almost 20 percent. Plus, Rose says it would come at a hefty price.”About $1.6 million dollars it would cost the district per year,” Rose said. “The other issue is just a manpower issue that, I don’t know if we even have enough, police force has enough personnel to have them as full time security officers.”Dr. Rose says security changes have already been made to tighten access to buildings, in addition to better cameras and increased lighting.ABC 17 News asked whether he thinks those changes offset the need for armed guards.Dr. Rose said he thinks some of it does.”I think the measures that we’ve put in place in this district have gone a long way in improving our security.”Rose says if the community wants to see armed guards, the community would have to pay for the security additions through increased taxes.

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