A Boulder County Sheriff has proposed a solution to neutralizing a potential school shooter. This proposal is a result of the sheriff's office's pre-emptive strike to expedite the response time to any potential school shooting that might take place in Lyons Middle/Senior or Niwot High School, as reported on Tuesday, June 5th, by the Denver Post.
The sheriff wants to relocate long-range rifles from school resource officers' cars to safes in school offices that would only be able to be unlocked by the fingerprint of a deputy. Robert Sullenberger, the division chief for the sheriff’s office, said that it takes about 15 minutes for law enforcement to get to Lyons and 10 minutes to get to Niwot.
The Parents of the St. Vrain Valley School District have been given multiple opportunities to meet with Superintendent Don Haddad and Robert Sullenberger, the division chief for the Sheriff’s office. Parents and law enforcement officials hope that the meetings will avoid the political debate surrounding gun rights.
Sullenberger has admitted that this solution is not full proof and that each situation will be different. One scenario that Sullenberger outlined where having guns in school safes will not narrow response time would be, “…a deputy might not always be closer to a safe's proposed location than his or her vehicle at the start of a potential shooting on campus,” reported the Daily Camera News.
Sullenberger acknowledged that deputies would make a judgment call in each scenario. "Each incident is going to be based on its own merits. We could have the deputy right in his office when (a shooting) happens. There may be times when he's on the other side of the school and (the rifle in the safe) may not be immediately available. In each case, the deputy is going to have make his own judgement on whether to engage the threat now, or to take a minute to retrieve the weapon."
Donna Bitterman, who is a former elementary teacher in St. Vrain school district and now works in the Thompson school district, has a stepson who is a rising junior at Niwot High School. She questions whether or not the transfer of guns into safe’s in school offices would actually streamline response time in practice as opposed to on paper.
"If we have this gun in the gun safe, and it's a biometric safe and it's coded to one person and that person is not in the office when the threat comes up, then what good is that weapon?," Bitterman asked.