Coeur d'Alene schools boosting security
Coeur d'Alene is beefing up security at schools. In light of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, the police and school district took a look at kids safety under their care.
Now they're working out a plan to put more officers in the hallways.
Some of those changes are already in place. All the high schools and middle schools have school resource officers (SRO) except for Canfield Middle School.
That school lost their SRO due to budget cuts. But if you walk through the hallways today, you'll see an officer right along side the kids.
Tuesday it was Officer Allen Speer. It was his first day at the school. "The kids are great, they enjoy seeing me and talking to me," said Officer Speer
A former DARE officer, Speer is thrilled to be back with students. However, seeing him in the hallways is an indication of changing times. "In our society today, we have to do that. Maybe five years ago we didn't think we had to do that, times have changed," said Coeur d'Alene Police Chief Wayne Longo.
Following the school shooting in Connecticut, the school district and police department put their heads together to look at school safety. That's how Officer Speer ended up at Canfield. "We're not just sitting back and hoping that nothing bad happens, but actually taking the initiative and incentive to make our schools as safe as can be," said district superintendent Hazel Bauman.
The plan is to place current patrol and school officers at Canfield through the rest of the year, with the goal of having a permanent SRO by the fall.
The hope is to add up to two more officers in the coming years to rotate through the elementary schools. The school district said it will offer to look deep into its budget to pay for the three additional officers.
"I'm okay with it but I think it's important that we don't turn schools into about prison," said Scott Broder, who has a son at Canfield. The school district agrees. They want to make sure the schools are still welcoming, but believe they're moving in the right direction. For them, there's no question that having Officer Speer in the hallway is a must.
"If they can't go to school and feel safe, our country, we've got a problem in this country," said the police chief.
Voters will also be asked to help fund more security measures.
The school district wants to continue a $12.9 million levy, that expires this summer, and add about another million dollars for the first year to pay for things like fencing and video surveillance cameras.
The school board will make a final decision this month. Voters would vote on the levy in March.
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