Last Updated:July 24 @ 06:39 am

Experts: Trained police needed for school safety

By AP Staff

WASHINGTON (AP) - The student's attack began with a shotgun blast through the windows of a California high school. Rich Agundez, the El Cajon policeman assigned to the school, felt his mind shift into overdrive.

People yelled at him amid the chaos but he didn't hear. He experienced "a tunnel vision of concentration."

While two teachers and three students were injured when the glass shattered in the 2001 attack on Granite Hills High School, Agundez confronted and wounded the assailant before he could get inside the school and use his second weapon, a handgun.

The National Rifle Association's response to a Connecticut school massacre envisions, in part, having trained, armed volunteers in every school in America. But Agundez, school safety experts and school board members say there's a huge difference between a trained law enforcement officer - who becomes part of the school family - and a guard with a gun.

The NRA's proposal has sparked a debate across the country as gun control rises once again as a national issue. President Barack Obama promised to present a plan in January to confront gun violence in the aftermath of the killing of 20 Sandy Hook Elementary School students and six teachers in Newtown, Conn.

Agundez said what happened before the shooting in the San Diego County school should frame the debate over the NRA's proposal.

A former SWAT team member, Agundez's preparation placed him in simulated stressful situations and taught him to evade a shooter's bullets. And the kids in the school knew to follow his advice because they knew him. He spoke in their classrooms and counseled them when they came to him with problems.

In the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre, school boards, administrators, teachers and parents are reviewing their security measures.

Former Rep. Asa Hutchinson, who also was a top Homeland Security official and will head the NRA effort, said the program will have two key elements.

One is a model security plan "based on the latest, most up-to- date technical information from the foremost experts in their fields." Each school could tweak the plan to its own circumstances.

The second element may prove the more controversial because, to avoid massive funding for local authorities, it would use volunteers. He said retired police officers, former members of the military or rescue personnel would be among those likely to volunteer.

"Our association would be uncomfortable with volunteers," said Mo Canady, executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers - whose members are mostly trained law enforcement officers who "become part of the school family.' "

Canady questioned how police officers responding to reports of a shooter would know whether the person with a gun is a volunteer or the assailant.

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4 Comments

  1. msgtazComment by msgtaz
    December 31, 2012 @ 11:20 am

    The NRA is right. In CA, Police Officer are assigned to Schools. Police Officer is different than a “guard with a gun”. What nonsense. That guard may become a Police Officer. I have seen Police Officer becoming guards. The differance is TRAINING. Qualified armed people in our schools would be a good start to secure our school and save our Kids.

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  2. vevaComment by veva
    December 31, 2012 @ 4:53 pm

    “A former SWAT team member, Agundez’s preparation placed him in simulated stressful situations and taught him to evade a shooter’s bullets. And the kids in the school knew to follow his advice because they knew him. He spoke in their classrooms….” Polosi’s comment about would teachers have guns, would they be laying on a desk, or would someone have to get the gun, if they were attacked, was so stupid, but certainly distracting from the real meaning of armed guns in schools. There are 23,000 schools in America with armed guards. This happened after the Columbine shooting. Pres. Clinton “endorsed” the idea. WHERE is he now? Officer Agundez is what the NRA is saying needs to be in schools! And not “retired” police officers. Too many of them get shot, when on duty, maybe because they are too slow to act and are out of shape. Older people DO lose ability to think and act quickly. So support the NRA idea in every way you can. Keep setting the records straight.

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  3. annelouisegelinasComment by annelouisegelinas
    January 1, 2013 @ 11:44 am

    We live in America knowing that the 2nd Amendment protects us not only from whatever enemies may try to harm us, but actually to protect ourselves against those in our society who want to do harm. Without our own gun protection if we see fit to own a gun, we cannot defend ourselves. Our Founding Fathers knew that in every country in the world, the only people defenseless are the citizens who bear no arms. When arms are only given to the military, and to gangs and terrorists, then the “common citizen” has no defense. It is sad that more children are murdered (killed -aborted) in the world and not a single shot was heard. Interesting that we care not for 10′s of millions of babies who are killed around the world every minute of every day, without a gun. There must be some moral reason why people would not give a care about aborting millions of babies who never got the chance to live at all. Again, families kill each other everyday somewhere, but not ever in the millions of babies aborted. We need to have a moral conscience about how we can all allow millions of babies to be aborted without s single gun being involved, but have an outcry of violence against bad men and women who are gun carriers when the numbers they kill are so few. We have too many people in our world mad, mentally ill, angry, jealous, hateful, and mean. They are the ones who run out and kill. Getting revenge is all they know. Their actions are isolated but create horrible tragedies. But I feel that aborting millions of babies is a worse crime. That is how I feel. The babies aborted could have been loved and become famous or contributed to healing our social illnesses. A child murdered in the womb could have been someone who could have saved the life of another person. Without those millions of babies aborted, we have in our own
    way, committed genocide in America. and that of our own free will? We look around the world and see genocide everyday. Look no further than in America. I think we all should be ashamed of the million or more abortions we commit in our country for what? It is in my opinion our moral decay. As for gun control, there will always be another way to kill people. A teacher back in the 1930′s bombed a school and killed 58 people. No gun. Just revenge. It isn’t the gun folks, it is the decay of our own morality. Violence is everywhere we look. It sells folks. It is your kids who participate and play violent games. Your children who are hooked on drugs probably since 1970′s when that generation started it. It is now carried down to their children and grandchildren. Mentally ill folks were let loose from the places that used to guard and watch them. Now we have young people angry, eager to use violent means, ill but no one is helping them, and you wonder why all this is happening. You know, you just won’t admit it.

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    • truckmanComment by truckman
      January 3, 2013 @ 2:12 am

      You have a lot right,but a couple of things need clarifying. When I was growing up,in the mid 60′s and early 70′s,we played a violent game or two (BB gun fight in a vacant lot comes to mind),and watched some violent movies (Well-at the time they were a big deal),but not a single child from our neighborhood grew up to be a crazed killer;as a matter of fact,that was a time of learning the consequences of behaving dangerously. The key really IS the morals we learn from our parents. We can tamper with any number of variables in our kids lives,but if we haven’t taken the time to teach them good morals and values,nothing else will make much of a difference in their lives later on.
      Regarding Gun Control,I’ve been asking Gun Control advocates for months now to explain exactly HOW Gun Control can possibly make anyone except CRIMINALS safer,but so far NOBODY has been able to give me a solid provable answer. Is that it? If NOTHING is all the proof there is,WHY do they believe so deeply that it’s right for THEM to take away MY right to own,carry and use my guns as guaranteed in the Second Amendment?

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