In order to combat potential mass school shootings and attacks, the new policy will allow the campus police officers to attain AR-15 rifles — semi-automatic guns originally made for the U.S. armed forces — and keep them in their car trunks while on duty. The officers must first pass an internal selection process and receive training.
“In an active shooter scenario where the suspect is wearing soft body armor … the school police officer with a standard police handgun would be at a severe disadvantage to the point of being ineffective in stopping the threat,” the policy agenda said.
The policy will not have a huge impact on the overall budget of the school board, as the cost of all equipment and weapons will be borne by the officer who voluntarily joins and qualifies for the program.
According to Los Angeles Times’ homicide report, Compton has remained the 11th most deadly neighborhood in the Los Angeles metropolitan area over the past 12 months. It ranks high in both violent crime and property crime rates, with gunshots being the most common cause of death.
The Compton School Police Officers Association listed other school districts in the metropolitan area that will also be allowing campus police officers to carry such weapon, including Los Angeles School PD, Baldwin Park School PD, Santa Ana School PD, Fontana School PD and San Bernandino School PD.
In the country overall, The Washington Post reported that there have been at least 74 school shootings since the deadly Sandy Hook shooting in December 2012.
The debate over police brutality and racial profiling has been escalating in the past week since the Aug. 9 fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. When violent riots erupted in the city, the local police departments responded with armored vehicles, SWAT units and military-grade armors in the following days.
Local media in Los Angeles report that many students and parents are concerned about this new school board policy.