SOUTH COUNTY, MO. (KPLR) - A St. Louis County school has more security Monday. Starting Monday, the Mehlville School District added four more armed police officers at elementary schools, for additional security.
Officer Charlie Rodriguez has worked as a school resource officer at Mehlville High School for 13 years. In simpler times, his job might have been to break up fights. Now, his main purpose is to be ready for a day he hopes never comes, dealing with an armed intruder:
Officer Charlie Rodriguez - St Louis County Police School Resource Officer: “We're looking at those threats, outside threats that may come into the community the school community on campus that want to cause harm.”
But following the slaughter of children at sandy hook elementary in Connecticut.
And Thursday’s shooting at a Los Angeles area high school.
And the mass killings in a Colorado movie theatre.
Rodriguez knows the combination of lots of guns and lots of disturbed people makes security his primary mission:
Officer Charlie Rodriguez - St Louis County Police School Resource Officer: “It’s happening more and more and more. Thank God it hasn't happened in our community and we're going to do everything in our power to keep it from happening here.”
Now the Mehville district is hiring four additional county officers to work part-time, mostly at elementary schools:
Dr. Eric Knost - Mehlville School Superintendent: “It gives a lot of flexibility to really consider our elementary schools and also makes sure we have the flexibility to have more of our officers present especially at highly populated times during the day.”
President Obama wants the federal government to help pay for more armed officers in schools nationwide:
Dr. Eric Knost - Mehlville School Superintendent: “We would welcome funding for additional police officers. In the meantime, we'll figure out a way to do it ourselves.”
Rodriguez meanwhile says arming teachers may be a good idea, if they're trained:
Officer Charlie Rodriguez - St Louis County Police School: “I am not opposed to having staff armed, with the proper training.”
The Missouri legislature meanwhile, will be considering a proposal to allow teachers to carry guns.