Douglas County considers ‘School Marshal’ program to increase security at schools


Classroom in Douglas County

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DENVER — After the Connecticut school shooting, many Colorado parents are wondering what their schools are doing to keep their kids safe.

The Douglas County School district is considering a new idea.

The superintendent is looking into a School Marshal program, similar to the Air Marshal program used on airplanes following 9/11.

“That’s an interesting idea, to have unmarked, not uniformed school marshals that are armed, that are police officers,” said Superintendent Liz Fagen.

The marshals would be off-duty officers, who would patrol the elementary schools every day.  Each officer would cover an undisclosed number of schools each day, so people wouldn’t know when the officer was or was not going to be there.

Douglas County high schools and middle schools already have security, and the high schools have an armed, uniformed school resource officer, who can cover the nearby middle schools.

But right now the elementary schools have nothing like that.

This plan would change that.  “We like this idea,” said Tony Spurlock, the Douglas County Undersheriff. He says officers are trained for this kind of security. “I believe that it’s best left to professionals,” Spurlock said. Some parents agreed.

The superintendent is not sure yet how much something like this would cost, but she believes the district could tap into its contingency fund to pay for the program.

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