Armed officers one step closer to patrolling schools

Grants Pass, Ore. — A new safety levy to appear on the May ballot would pay for armed retired officers to roam the Three Rivers School District campuses in Josephine County.

The school board approved the levy for the May election at Tuesday night’s meeting. The three year levy would pay for six deputies to patrol the 13 campuses. Each officer would be on site an average of three hours a day.

The officers would be employed by the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Dave Daniel said the deputies would always be rotating and moving from school to school and would be hired and trained just like any other deputy with and extensive application and interview process.

“As well as an extensive background to make sure these people still hold true to the same values and morals and have the character to do the job especially around our children,” Daniel said.

He added that the county is long overdue in trying to be proactive and protecting students.

Kevin Marr has a junior daughter at Hidden Valley High School in Grants Pass. He attended Tuesday’s meeting and said he will be voting for the levy.

“If we don’t take proactive steps then when something does happen we beat ourselves up and say, what could I have done?,” Marr said.

He also said his daughter is in favor of the presence of an armed officer.

Taxpayers in the Three Rivers District would pay five-cents per $1,000 of assessed value. That’s about $10 a year for a home valued at $200,000. The current proposal would raise nearly $200,000 per year. The money would be handled by the school district.

Superintendent David Holmes said it’s a preventative measure to keep kids safe as the recent number of school shootings across the country and state increase.

If the levy is passed Sheriff Daniel hopes to have the officers trained and ready for the 2016 school year.

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