SCHOOL SAFETY: Extra Resource Officers Proposed

When it comes to student safety, Des Moines Superintendent Tom Ahart says you can never go too far.

“We’re much more careful now in the design of our schools about being able to have secure entry,” said Ahart.

Des Moines schools have also added cameras and security card access in several buildings, but neither Ahart nor local law enforcement believe that’s enough.

“We’re constantly reevaluating the safety systems in our schools,ā€ Ahart told Channel 13 News.

On Monday, Chief Judy Bradshaw pitched a plan that would create a Crime Stoppers hotline specifically for students.

She also wants to add four more school resource officers in the district, but the cost of additional staff could be a catch.

“If we added four, we’re looking at about $120,000 dollars per. That’s just shy of half a million dollars,” said Ahart.

In return, East High and central campus would each get an additional officer and two more officers would rotate throughout the elementary and middle schools for a total of thirteen SRO’s in Des Moines.

Rodrigo Santizo, a SRO at Des Moines East High School likes the idea.

“Sometimes we get so busy on certain cases it leaves the rest of the school available to other incidents. If we were to have two officers, it would be very beneficial,ā€ said Santizo.

That $500,000 dollar price tag would have to be added to the district’s budget.

Ahart says if they’re going to spend the money, there are several ways to do it including more cameras, additional training for students and teachers, and building renovations.

“Adding SRO’s, while it may make sense isn’t a one stop shop to making sure we’re doing everything we can to ensure student safety,” Ahart said.

This spring, Des Moines officials will also learn more about that specific training called ALICE training.