Sheriff to appoint officer to Lewis-Arriola Elementary School

Monday, June 18, 2018 2:17 PM
The Montezuma-Cortez school board met with Randy Black, Colorado Association of School Boards director of member relations, on Feb. 27.

The Montezuma-Cortez District Re-1 school board on Tuesday heard a safety report from Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin.

According to Superintendent Lori Haukeness, Nowlin said he will station a school resource officer at Lewis-Arriola Elementary School next year. In addition, Battle Rock charter school will receive “support” from the Sheriff’s Office.

The decision to appoint an SRO officer to Lewis-Arriola School follows discussions about school security in the wake of the Dec. 7 shooting inside Aztec High School.

The Re-1 School District’s safety team met Dec. 14 at Cortez Middle School with parents, teachers and administrators to discuss its plans for a potential disaster.

The district’s safety meeting came a week after two students were killed Dec. 7 when a gunman opened fire in the school. Authorities identified 21-year-old William Atchison, who died in the attack, as the gunman.

Jamie Haukeness, district safety coordinator, showed a video from a 2006 shooting at Platte Canyon High School at the Dec. 14 meeting.

Re-1 uses a safety protocol, though it may change to fit district needs. Re-1 teachers have a condensed version so they know the action steps to take.

“Our emergency operation plan is a living document,” Haukeness said.

At the Dec. 14 meeting and several subsequent board meetings, safety was at the forefront of the minds of parents and residents. Discussion included arming teachers and staff, but the district decided against it.

Instead, each classroom in the district is now equipped with a radio that connects to 911. Cameras and intercom systems have been installed at Lewis Arriola and Pleasant View Schools.

In a special session before the regular board meeting on June 12, Haukeness said the board interviewed candidates for the open seat in District D left by Josiah Forkner’s resignation.

Haukeness also told The Journal that the board “debriefed” from its community meeting about a 2018 mill levy.

The Montezuma-Cortez school board will not have a meeting in July.