The Main Stream

Dec 21, 2012 7:22 PM by Lorraine Rivera

NRA calls for armed personnel at schools

TUCSON - Members of the National Rifle Association called for armed guards to be placed at schools igniting a frenzy of emotion Friday.

Todd Rathner is on the board of directors of the National Rifle Association of America and said something must be done soon, "the schools are quote gun free zones. So what does that do? That tells these bad people; these bad people, madmen, criminals that this is a place to go shoot someone because no one is going to shoot back at you so of course we need armed security as schools."

For the last 35 years the Oro Valley Police Department has had the School Resource Officer program. There is one sergeant and six police officers assigned to the area's five schools. Sgt. Bruce Thomas leads the squad and said he believes having the officers on campus serves as a deterrent, "just the fact that they know there's armed people here they are probably going to go somewhere else if they've got something evil on their mind."

The SRO program comes out of Oro Valley's budget and costs approximately $700,000. "There is no delay in response in reference to any crime that might be going on. They're also trained, as are all of our patrolmen in active shooter training and drills," explained Lt. Kara Riley.

She said the department was committed to continuing the program as a matter of public safety and student security. It's a concept that Rathner says will save lives, "citizens are the first responders. So they've got to be able to respond in a way to stop a mad shooter, a crazy person from shooting up a school and the only way to do that is make sure that there is someone trained and armed on school grounds at all times."

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