14 Resource Officers In Spokane Public Schools To Carry Guns By - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

14 Resource Officers In Spokane Public Schools To Carry Guns By 2014

SPOKANE, Wash – In a plan approved by the Spokane School Board in April, all 14 of the district's resource officers will carry a .40 caliber Glock pistol, and may be armed as soon as January.

The board met again Wednesday night to get an update on the timeline of the plan, which is depending on training and employee contracts.  The district already employs 13 officers and will hire one more in time for the upcoming school year.  The high schools each have one and the officers at the middle school level also travel to the feeding elementary schools, meaning every school in the district would be covered.

"Schools have changed a little bit over the decades, and perhaps more than that, society has changed," Director of Safety & Security Jason Conley told KHQ's Kelsey Watts.

The plan has been in the works for nearly two years – long before the tragic school shooting in Newtown – but that still highlighted the need for the district to take appropriate proactive measures.  A measure they hope to never have to use.

"How frustrating would it be to be a police officer, you're there, you potentially could have stopped the threat, but you didn't have the tool you needed to either deter it or use force," Conley added.

The school resource officers would go through the same firearms training as police officers at the Spokane Police Academy in Spokane Valley, which is regulated under the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission.

"The folks that we hire have previous law enforcement history, and in fact most – not all – have carried a gun in a prior career before they came to the school district," Conley said.  "So it's a matter of retraining and re-qualifying them."

The .40 caliber Glock was chosen because it's the same weapon largely used by the police force, streamlining the training process.

While several school districts already have armed officers, Conley said there are only two other districts in Washington in which the officers would be employees of the school district, not the police department.

A Spokane Police spokesperson told KHQ as long as the school board and superintendent support the move, they do too.

 

 
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