Charlottesville Police: Put Armed Officers in Elementary Schools
Charlottesville's School Board is starting an important discussion. Armed officers already patrol the city's high school and middle school, but should the division come up with the annual funds to pay five armed police officers to stand guard at every elementary school?
Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Superintendent Rosa Atkins met with police to review the safety plan currently in place and see what can be improved. Police recommended putting armed officers in every city elementary school.
"It plays a big role in building relationships between our young population at the entry level in the schools so they can trust law enforcement officers," said Lt. Ronnie Roberts of the Charlottesville Police Department.
Right now there are two armed officers at Charlottesville High School, one at Buford Middle School, and one that circulates through six elementary schools.
Police say they could have up to a three-minute response time to any elementary school in the city.
"When you have an officer there, he or she can react immediately to any kind of activity that's occurring in the school," said Roberts.
But adding five officers comes with a price, including salary, benefits, equipment and training.
"If we believe that is something that's going to increase the safety of our students, that's something we will find the money for," said Juandiego Wade, a Charlottesville School Board member.
Board members will discuss the impact hiring five additional officers will have on the budget, as well as the overall ethics of placing armed officers in elementary schools.
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