RRPS board votes 4-1 to arm security guards - Albuquerque Journal

RRPS board votes 4-1 to arm security guards

Rio Rancho Public Schools is on track to have armed security guards in place as soon as February following the Board of Education’s 4-1 vote to take the action earlier this month.

Chief Operating Officer Mike Baker, a former chief with the Rio Rancho Police Department, estimated the training required would be completed and armed guards would be in the hallways in “two to three months.”

Mike Baker

Board members Wynne Coleman, Catherine Cullen, Ryan Parra and Martha Janssen voted in favor of the long-discussed measure. Board president Ramon Montaño, favors armed guards, but he said he preferred waiting for POMS & Associates Insurance Brokers’ best practices for school security personnel to align with RRPS’ chosen course.

“NMPSIA’s (New Mexico Public School Insurance Authority) standards for how we should implement this doesn’t give us any leeway to improve the system without their approval,” Montaño said, so that all the “ducks would be in a line.”

“What I’m concerned about is the liability. This is uncharted territory,” he said.

Existing NMPSIA standards outline three options for districts: contract with local police for a resource officer, contract with licensed security guards or use “as a last resort” Level 3 school security guards. The district has three resource officers, but stationing one at each school would be prohibitively expensive, as would getting licensed security guards.

The district plans to use Level 3 school security guards, and the training the board emphasized is beyond Level 3, which is fine with Montaño, but not precisely what NMPSIA has outlined.

Montaño is worried that requiring more training than NMPSIA calls for could be considered “going against the recommendations.”

Ramon Montano

“We’re exceeding what they asked for,” he said.

Montaño, president of the New Mexico School Boards Association, told the Observer last week that West Las Vegas Schools has deferred arming its security guards for now because of insurance concerns. Montaño is a Las Vegas native.

“I don’t want to put the district in a liability situation,” Montaño said.

During public comments before the vote, residents urged caution, suggested exploring other options, said they still had questions, and some were categorically opposed to adding more guns to the equation.

“Everybody is responsible for safety,” Superintendent Sue Cleveland told the board. “Whatever you all decide is fine. Put this to rest so people know (what has been decided) one way or another.”

Cleveland also noted that several surveys among RRPS staff, parents and the community showed them “overwhelmingly in support” of arming security guards.


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
Report: Tax revenue from oil, gas hits record high
ABQnews Seeker
The oil and gas industry injected ... The oil and gas industry injected nearly $5.3 billion into the budgets of New Mexico and local governments in the last fiscal year — ...
2
'Rust' supplier may have mistakenly provided live rounds
ABQnews Seeker
Investigation by the Santa Fe County ... Investigation by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office has centered around how live ammunition got onto the set and where it came from
3
House, Lobos keep Aggies in the dark
ABQnews Seeker
Jaelen House scored 31 points and ... Jaelen House scored 31 points and the UNM Lobos hit 12 of 14 free throws in the final 1:53 to ice a 101-94 rivalry ...
4
Emptying the Notebook: Lobos light up scoreboard in win ...
ABQnews Seeker
Here are some notes, quotes, odds ... Here are some notes, quotes, odds & ends and whatever else I could empty out of the old notebook after UNM's 101-94 win over ...
5
Henry's tree to be lit for the last time ...
ABQnews Seeker
But, even when the lights go ... But, even when the lights go dark, it will always be time to remember Henry Aceves, the man who saved Christmas
6
Snowboarder killed at Sipapu worked in Presbyterian ER
ABQnews Seeker
28-year-old trying sport for first time ... 28-year-old trying sport for first time apparently hit a tree
7
Ancient juniper trees cut illegally in New Mexico monument
ABQnews Seeker
Alligator junipers, which have unique bark, ... Alligator junipers, which have unique bark, can live up to 500 years, even in harsh conditions
8
Trial starts for suspect in uncle's shooting death
ABQnews Seeker
Prosecutor disputes claim of self-defense as ... Prosecutor disputes claim of self-defense as 2020 security video reviewed
9
NM middle school bans flags as capes
ABQnews Seeker
Popular trend barred after student honored ... Popular trend barred after student honored Confederacy on campus