A sheriff from Kansas has a plan to keep schools safe: Arm school personnel.
Sheriff Tom Morse from Jackson County hopes to prevent schools from being soft targets and outlined his plan in a recent press release. Morse claims he does not trust politicians to keep children safe and believes the best course of action is taking matters into the hands of the Sheriff’s Department.
“While politicians continue to fight, and activists feud with each other, it only wastes time and delays our schools from being secure,” he says. “Further inaction will only result in more tragedy.”
Morse proposes using the current “special deputy” program, which allows sheriffs to have an unpaid deputy who has duties such as serving papers and warrants, transferring prisoners, or acting as a regular deputy.
“My plan would allow school personnel to apply to be a School Protection Special Deputy for the purpose of entering the School Defender Initiative Program that would be created for our country.”
Morse claims that personnel would include administrators, maintenance, coaches, and other staff.
The program would require all applicants to undergo the same vetting as a full-time deputy, including background investigations, physiological testing, applicant testing, polygraphs, and firearm training that would exceed the number of training hours full-time officers receive in the police academy. Participants would also be highly trained in active shooting drills and will have to undergo quarterly refresher classes.
Morse envisions the participants to act similarly to Federal Air Marshals as in they only reveal their identity and that they are armed when there is a threat. He believes that schools should be “hardened like many government buildings,” including entrances being limited, individuals being screened before entering, and armed personnel on site.
“Why have we taken so long in this nation to protect our greatest treasures, our children?" he asks. “We need to make changes in how we protect our children and the changes need to start today.”
“While I do not have much faith that our politicians will find solutions anytime soon, I believe with some hard work and dedication we can change our schools from being soft targets,” Morse writes. “I encourage the sheriffs in this state and nation to stand up and take the lead in securing our schools.”
Teachers in Kansas have been permitted to carry firearms since 2013 but the state’s primary insurer refused to cover schools with armed staff, causing the state legislature to propose a bill to prohibit insurers from denying coverage for this reason.