A North Dakota police department wants to make sure school resource officers are on equal footing with anyone who may try to harm students, so it has requested some upgraded weapons, according to The Associated Press.
The Bismarck Police Department, in its 2019 budget request, is asking for money to purchase AR-15s, gun safes to store them in, as well as bulletproof vests and medical kits.
“I fully believe that we have some solid preventative measures in place, and generally our schools are safe,” said Lt. Jason Stugelmeyer. “But we have to do everything we can to be prepared for something if it did happen.”
Why do they need AR-15s?
Stugelmeyer said the department saw the need for stronger weapons for school resource officers after the gunman in Parkland, Florida, killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School with an AR-15.
Right now, the officers at the schools carry handguns, which puts them at a distinct disadvantage if they would happen to face a similar situation against an AR-15-wielding gunman as occurred in Parkland.
How much do they need?
The department is requesting $26,000 to purchase all the necessary materials. The department and the school system would share the costs, with the department paying for the guns.
The Bismarck Police Department currently has six school resource officers. The guns, if purchased, will be locked up in the schools, not carried by the officers.
The school superintendent said he trusts the police department to determine what’s best for school security.
“I think we have to take any kind of threat to our kids seriously,” Supt. Jim Haussler said. “I don’t think [the police department’s] request would’ve been made without them believing that [the rifles] will provide them with the tools necessary.”
The request, if approved, will provide the department with funding beginning in January.
(H/T The Hill)