Rio Rancho schools plan to arm security guards for upcoming school year

New Mexico News

With school less than a month away, districts statewide are developing safety plans for active shooter situations. 

For the first time officials in Rio Rancho say this fall, they plan to add armed security guards to their campuses. 

“With the active shooter situation that happened in Florida I think that particular active shooter that happened in Parkland really got the attention of the country, certainly got the attention of our district,” said Chief Operation Officer Michael Baker. 

If the plan is approved, 12 armed guards would rotate from campus to campus. 

“They will actually be armed with firearms, they will be scheduled to go into a number of our different schools probably on a rotating basis to begin with,” Baker said.

These guards are already employed by the district and are all retired law enforcement.

“Really the best way to actually stop an active shooter is to have armed security officers in our schools,” Baker said.

If the plan is approved by the city and school board, the guards will go through re-certifications and several trainings in order to carry on campus. 

“Legal issues is one area, weapons proficiency is another area, weapons retention is another area, physical fitness training,” Baker said.

The district already has three Rio Rancho police officers that act as school resource officers, but officials say they want to increase the armed presence at schools. 

Arming those guards will cost about $50,000. District officials also want input from parents. They plan to hold public meetings before the plan is brought to the school board next month. 

Officials say they are also re-evaluating their weapons policy, and may consider allowing teachers to be armed with pepper spray. 

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