Dolores votes to add resource officer

Donated bullet-proof vests given to principals, superintendent

The Dolores School Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday night to spend $8,000 on a school resource officer who will be stationed at the schools.

The officer will likely start as early as next week and is part of a partnership with the Montezuma County Sheriff's Office.

The partnership, which included a matching $8,000 from the Montezuma County Sheriff's Office will put a full-time school resource officer on the school campus, which includes the elementary, middle and high schools, for the rest of the year.

Dolores School District Superintendent Scott Cooper told the board that they would revisit the idea of the school resource officer before the beginning of the next school year and decide if the officer's presence will continue.

"It's an incredible deal," Cooper told the school board Tuesday night in front of a standing room only crowd at the district office.

School safety has been on everyone's mind following the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School late last year.

"We want them on campus as much as possible," Cooper said. "My hope is to have a great sense of security."

The Dolores schools have had a school resource officer before, a position that was eliminated shortly after Montezuma County Sheriff Dennis Spruell took office in 2011.

Board president Allan Thayer said he was in favor of an officer's return.

"I like the idea myself," he said. "A presence of an officer makes them not afraid."

In addition to providing security, the school resource officer, could teach safety classes to students.

The officer is not known yet, Cooper said, but Spruell indicated that someone could be placed at the schools very soon.

Also on the school safety front, Cooper told the Star that the Montezuma County Sheriff's Office donated four bullet-proof vests to the school district. Every five years, officers retire their vests, so they were donated to the school district.

Cooper said he will keep a vest in his office, in addition to vests being kept in the principals' offices.

"If we go into a critical situation, we can put them on," Cooper said. "The idea is as a principal, they can try to take a shooter down and in the meantime could get shot."

Cooper said the vests were offered to the school district by the sheriff's office.

"It is a no-cost safety tool," he said. "I don't know if we will remember to put them on in case of emergency, but we are glad to have them."