School to have resource officer

Bullet-proof vests given to principals

The Dolores School Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday night to spend $8,000 on a school resource officer who would be stationed at the schools.

The officer will likely start as early as next week and is part of a partnership with the Montezuma County Sheriff's Department.

The partnership, which included $8,000 from the school district and $8,000 from the Montezuma County Sheriff's Department will put a full time school resource officer on the school campus, which included the elementary, middle and high schools, for the rest of the year.

Dolores School District Superintendent Scott Cooper told the board that they would revisit the idea of the school resource officer before the beginning of the next school year and decide if the officer's presence will be needed to continue.

"It's an incredible deal," Cooper told the school board Tuesday night in front of a standing room only crowd at the district office.

School safety has been on everyone's mind following the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School late last year.

"We want them on campus as much as possible," Cooper said. "My hope is to have a great sense of security."

The Dolores schools have had a school resource officer before, a position that was eliminated shortly after Montezuma County Sheriff Dennis Spruell took office in 2011.

Board president Allan Thayer said he was in favor of an officer's return.

"I like the idea myself," he said. "A presence of an officer makes them not afraid."

In addition to providing security, the school resource officer, could teach safety classes to children. A class about meth was cited as an example.

The name of the officer is not known yet, Cooper said, but Spruell indicated that someone could be placed at the schools very soon.

Also on the school safety front, Cooper told the Star that the Montezuma County Sheriff's Department donated four bullet-proof vests to the school district. Every five years, officers retire their vests, so they were donated to the school district.

Cooper said he will keep a vest in his office, in addition to the principals offices.

"If we go into a critical situation, we can put them on," Cooper said. "The idea is as a principal, they can try to take a shooter down and in the meantime could get shot."

Cooper said the vests were offered to the school district by the sheriff's department.

"It is a no-cost safety tool," he said. "I don't know if we will remember to put them on in case of emergency, but we are glad to have them."

Also on the safety end of the school meeting, board members were informed that the district recently purchased a auto-call program that can automatically let parents know when there is an issue they need to be notified about. The program will make it easier and quicker to get in contact with parents.