DENVER (KDVR) — The Denver Public Schools board will allow officers to return to schools, a move backed by Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas. But he also said more needs to be done to keep kids safe at schools.
Host Matt Mauro spoke exclusively with Thomas this week on “Colorado Point of View.”
Thomas and DPS Superintendent Alex Marrero announced that two armed officers will be inside Denver East High School after a student shot two administrators this week. The DPS board then voted on Thursday to allow the superintendent to provide at many as two officers on school campuses.
“We’re hoping they engage positively with students,” Thomas said. “Certainly, we believe their presence will calm the concerns of students and parents and certainly school staff.”
Thomas said he has always been an advocate for police officers in schools, not just for safety purposes. He said he wants officers to build positive relationships with students at schools.
“I really would rather have a young person have their first interaction with a law enforcement officer be inside of a school in a school setting,” Thomas said. “Rather than have the first interaction be on a street corner where we really don’t know what that person can expect what behavior they’re going to get from the officer.”
But Thomas said keeping students safe needs a multi-pronged approach, which includes school resource officers.
“I think we need to do a better job being supportive of students in schools and addressing their emotional and social learning and mental health challenges,” Thomas said. “I also think we need to continue to do things to prevent easy access to guns. I know there’s a lot of legislation being discussed right now that’s going to help us with preventing that access to guns from people who shouldn’t have them.”
You can watch the full exclusive interview with Thomas on school safety on “Colorado Point of View” this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on Channel 2.