Colorado school district purchases semiautomatic rifles for security officers

 © Douglas County School District
The Douglas County School System in Colorado has purchased 10 semiautomatic rifles for its armed security officers as a precaution against shootings or other violent incidents, but the weapons will not be stored on school premises.

The decision to buy $12,300 worth of Bushmaster long rifles was made in January by Richard Payne, director of security for the Douglas County School System. It was not discussed or voted on by the school board, because it falls well below the $75,000 mark that would require it to come before the panel.

The firearms will not be stored in schools, Payne assured.

“The weapons currently every day will be inside of a locked safe in a secured room inside the security department,” he told KDVR. “They’ll be deployed into a locking mechanism that is inside our patrol vehicles very similar to the locking mechanisms that are inside law enforcement patrol vehicles and they will only be deployed if there is a situation where they need to be deployed.”

All district security officers are required to have previously served as law enforcement officers and train alongside current cops as part of their requirements, according to school system spokeswoman Paula Hans.

The school officers in Douglas County previously only had access to handguns, which are still used by security personnel in school districts in neighboring Aurora, Denver, and Jefferson counties.

“Our main focus is to make sure that all of the students staff parents and community members are safe when they’re on any of our school properties,” Payne said.

There are currently eight armed security officers working for the Douglas County School System, which has 67,000 students.