School's Layered Approach to Security: Handguns and Long Rifles


The Douglas County School District in Castle Rock, Colorado takes school security very seriously. So much so that their security team will soon be equipped with 10 Bushmaster semi-automatic long rifles for its officers in addition to their handguns.

CBS Denver reports:

According to Douglas County schools spokesperson Paula Hans, all district security officers are former law enforcement officers, which is a part of the job requirement. They train side-by-side with law enforcement and go through the same training as law enforcement. But unlike SROs (school resource officers), who are public law enforcement officers (LEOs) but partially funded by the district, they are school district employees.

SROs are actual law enforcement and are stationed at high schools. School security officers are more mobile and patrol the entire district. Some coverage areas are larger than others and are patrolled during school hours and some other times.

“We believe in a layered approach,” Hans said.

The Douglas County School District also has school marshals. They are also LEOs and rotate among elementary and middle schools with multiple visits per school per day.

There are currently eight security officers for Douglas County Schools. They have previously been armed with handguns and will continue to carry them.

Douglas County Schools director of security Richard Payne, said he made the decision to purchase the weapons in January after he observed the security officers training “hand to hand” with the sheriff’s office who also utilized long guns.

“We want to make sure they have the same tools as law enforcement,” Payne said Monday.

Payne says although all eight of his security officers are former law enforcement, they will still be required to complete the same 20-hour training course commissioned police officers take. Once the long guns arrive, he says they will be locked inside security officer’s patrol cars.

“They will not be in the schools,” Payne said of the weapons.

Unless they’re needed, of course.

Payne also confirmed he personally made the decision to purchase the Bushmaster long rifles, which cost a little more than $12,000, to protect the 67,000 students enrolled throughout the Douglas County School District.

Hats off to you, sir!