Boulder County schools seeking input on keeping rifle in main office

Posted at 4:42 PM, Jun 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-06 11:40:02-04

BOULDER COUNTY -- One Boulder County school is hosting a discussion tonight, and another will hold one Thursday, regarding a proposal from the sheriff’s office to approve a pilot program allowing them to keep a long-range rifle in each of their main offices.

Earlier this year, the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office asked St. Vrain Valley Schools to approve the program at Lyons Middle/Senior High School and Niwot High School, citing that it would help decrease response time in an emergency and would provide school resource officers with an additional form of security. 

“Over the years, we’ve seen an increase in the number of incidents of school-involved shootings where multiple high school and middle school kids are being killed," said Boulder County Sheriff's Office Division Chief Robert Sullenberger. "With the Lyons High School and Niwot High School — both of those schools have dedicated SROs to each of them — if an active shooter were to come on either one of those campuses, our next available officer to come in to help is anywhere between 10 to 15 minutes away. The vast majority of these school shootings finished within five to seven minutes.”

All deputies are armed with a handgun, but they usually have to get within about 25 yards of a suspect to get an effective shot, Sullenberger said, noting that authorities could use a long-range rifle to neutralize the threat from a greater distance with a high degree of accuracy. 

St. Vrain Valley Schools Superintendent Don Haddad wrote in a school memo that he wants to gather input from the community before the Board of Education decides on the pilot program.

“Our highest priority is ensuring the safety and well-being of our students, and believe that our students, families and law enforcement partners are essential to keeping everyone in our community safe,” he wrote.

The public, including students, are welcome to the discussions. Sullenberger said he plans to attend both meetings. 

The meeting tonight is slotted for 6-7 p.m. at Lyons Middle/Senior High School, at 100 McConnell Drive, Lyons. Thursday’s meeting for Niwot High School is scheduled for 6-7 p.m. at Sunset Middle School, at 1300 S. Sunset St., Longmont.