Jan 24 2013, 3:49pm CST | by Jeffrey B. Roth
FONTANA, Calif. – Perhaps school police officials believe that providing high-powered semiautomatic rifles to school police officers to carry on campuses is similar to the addage of fighting fire with fire.
Fontana Unified School police were equipped with 14 Colt LE6940 rifles last fall. Police took delivery of the assuat rifles during the first week of December, a mere week before 26 students were killed in a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Conn.
School Police Chief Billy Green said Wednesday that the Sandy Hook tragedy “further solidified the need to give our officers the tools they need to respond to an active shooter on campus.” The idea behind equipping officers with the armament was to address what Green termed as a “critical vulnerability” in the district school security system.
The district encompasses 45 school campuses. The 14 members of the campus police force contingent already carry sidearms. At a cost of $1,000 each, the weapons are capable of hitting a target at a distance and, the ammunition used, will pierce body armor.
Police officers had to qualify to use the rifles by completing a 40-hour training course. The rifles are secured in safes in the high school and middle school police department offices. School board approval was not required for the purchase. However, a school board member plans to bring the issue up at a meeting.
Jeffrey B. Roth
A multi-award winning writer, Jeffrey B. Roth is a well-known investigative reporter, who covers crime, law, politics, sciences, business, medicine, education, history and a wide range of other topics. In 2010, Roth won first place for a new series in the Keystone Press Awards, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association. A published short story writer and poet, Roth is listed in the Locus Index of Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors. Currently, Roth writes for CBS Philadelphia, CBS Baltimore, the Philadelphia Examiner and regional publications, including Carroll Magazine, Carroll Business Quarterly and Hagerstown Magazine to name a few. In the past, Roth, a former crisis intervention counselor and teacher, has written for numerous Pennsylvania newspapers, state and national magazines and the Associated Press. He lives in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, west of Gettysburg, Pa.
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