By: Suzie Glassman/NewsBreak Denver
(Castle Rock, CO) Douglas County sheriff candidate Darren Weekly said in a social media response that he supports FASTER Colorado, a nonprofit that provides free or low-cost safety and emergency response training for teachers, administrators, and staff.
“I support the FASTER program because it is a comprehensive multi-level training to include rending emergency medical aid and is taught by active law enforcement officers,” said Weekly. “Any such program would first need to be approved by the school board, school administrators, as well as parents.”
When asked his position on arming teachers and staff, Weekly said he supports it if all of the training and policy requirements are in place.
Weekly also said he supports “more SROs, more armed security, hardening of schools and utilization of technology to prevent armed intruders who intend to inflict violence on students and staff.”
The DougCo school district partners with the DougCo Sheriff’s Office to train and employ uniformed Safety Resource Officers (SROs) at every school who investigate and respond to school threats.
According to FASTER’s website, the organization advocates for armed staff even in cases where there are SROs or other armed and uniformed security officers.
Weekly’s opponent takes a different stance
Michael Phibbs is an independent candidate for DougCo Sheriff and has stated that while some rural districts could make a case for arming teachers, that’s not the case in Douglas County.
According to Phibbs, “We have law enforcement everywhere; we have three municipal police departments, we have a large sheriff’s office, we have school resource officers everywhere – law enforcement can be that response.”
Phibbs is hosting a series of talks on school safety and best practices. He advocates installing electronic door locks and keys and providing more life-saving devices like bleeding-control kits and fire extinguishers.
DCSD stance on arming teachers
DougCo superintendent Erin Kane and board of education president Mike Peterson have said they don’t support arming teachers but prefer considering other safety options, like more SROs. Peterson said he's open to thinking outside of the box and would consider non-law enforcement security officers who are properly trained.
The current weapons policy doesn’t allow anyone other than SROs and Safety and Security personnel to carry a weapon on campus. The board would have to vote to amend that policy if it allowed anyone else to carry a concealed firearm.
During an August board meeting, each director said they were in favor of the current policy.