LCPS Highlights Changes to Safe Schools Firearms Policy

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Todd Gregory, head of the Las Cruces Public Schools Security Department, demonstrates how the Carry on Shield is used to protect against gunfire and knife attacks.  Friday February 17, 2017.

LAS CRUCES – Public schools in Las Cruces are reorganizing some staff members into a new public security department, the district said on Tuesday.

In addition, LCPS has changed a policy in recent months that will allow some security officers to carry guns in schools, officials said. Previously, only uniformed police officers – known as school resource officers – were armed in schools.

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New department

The new department will be headed by Todd Gregory, a former officer with the Las Cruces Police Department who was, until recently, the LCPS security coordinator, said Nancy Cathey, LCPS director of operations. His title changed to that of Director of Public Security.

The new department will not involve the creation of new posts, but rather the reorganization of existing posts.

“It’s really a reorganization of some people,” Cathey said.

The ministry will cover transportation and include a risk management component. The reorganization took place in September.

Policy change

LCPS Superintendent Greg Ewing at a school board meeting on Tuesday highlighted a change in district policy on guns in schools.

In May, the school board approved an update that allows school security guards to carry concealed weapons, if the principal permits.

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Cathey said so far, Ewing has only allowed one person – Gregory – to carry a concealed weapon. Authorizations are on a case-by-case basis and can only be granted to individuals who have obtained state certifications for carrying concealed weapons.

The policy states that the superintendent may grant authority for “good faith security reasons,” according to the document.

“The board of directors always has the power to override any decision I make on this matter,” Ewing told LCPS board members. “I’ve said publicly that we don’t like guns in schools or bullets flying; we want to teach. But we’ve armed Todd (Gregory), and we have our SROs (School Resource Officers) armed in every building. , and even in this building we have an armed officer with us now.

According to Cathey, the neighborhood has 30 security guards.

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School resource officers

Ten other ORSs, who are officers in uniform, and a sergeant patrol middle and high schools in the district.

The school district has an agreement with the city of Las Cruces, which provides police officers in return for a reimbursement of $ 315,000 from the district, according to the 2017 contract.

In addition to responding to crime on campus, SROs are trying to build relationships with students, staff and parents, officials said. They also give presentations on topics such as drug and alcohol abuse and can direct students and families to resources in the community such as mental health clinics, depending on the agreement.

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ORS carry service weapons like other police officers, said LCPD Police Chief Jaime Montoya.

“We were always armed when we started working in schools and will continue this practice,” he said.

Montoya said ORS “do more than keep schools safe.”

“It’s a very good program that helps us mentor our young people,” he said.

Cathey said the discussion at Tuesday’s board meeting about school safety was not sparked by the mass shooting that took place in Las Vegas on Sunday. The agenda for the meeting had been set before this incident happened, she said.

Diana Alba Soular can be reached at 575-541-5443, [email protected] or @AlbaSoular on Twitter.

Politics

Excerpt from the revised LCPS Policy on Weapons in Schools:

“Based on a determination by the Superintendent of a good faith security reason, the
The superintendent may grant permission to school security personnel with a
firearm license, including the safety and security coordinator
Security personnel and school security personnel under contract, to carry a concealed firearm
in school district premises and in school zones. Authorization must be in writing
of the superintendent and adapted to the specific safety problem, and must not
extend to the period of effective exercise of the functions for which
permission has been granted. The superintendent notifies the board within 24
hours of exercising authority under this paragraph. The superintendent or the board (through board action) can revoke the authorization granted at any time. “

Source: Las Cruces Public School Policy



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