A school district in Colorado recently announced that it was boosting the firepower of its armed security patrols.
In January, the district spent $12,300 to purchase 10 semi-automatic Bushmaster rifles and gear for its 8 security patrols.
“The decision to buy these guns were part of a proactive approach to figure out how to best protect students and staff in our district that sprawls across approximately 900 square miles,” said district spokesperson Paula Hans, according to ABC News.
The security patrols, who already have handguns, will undergo training with the local sheriff’s department to learn how to handle a rifle.
“Richard Payne, the district’s director of safety and security, wanted to make sure his officers have all the tools necessary if we have to respond to an incident to keep our students, staff safe,” Hans said.
Some school board members raised concerns as to why they weren’t notified about the purchase until recently.
“We’ve got to keep our kids safe, and we’ve got to keep our staff and community safe, but in my opinion, that’s the role of law enforcement,” said board member Wendy Vogel.
The decision to make the purchase and arm the security patrols had been made in June of 2015, months before the new batch of school board members were elected in November, which contributed to the confusion.
Also, usually only much larger purchases, above $75,000, go before the board.
When the security patrols are on duty, the rifles will be stored in “stored in locking mechanisms” in district vehicles, and will be stored “in a safe during off-duty hours in the security office off school property,” Hans said.