Socorro Consolidated School District has hired two security guards but are still in search of armed certified officer.

At the school board meeting Jan.29, the board did the third and final reading and approval of an armed security personnel policy and equipment list.

Rhiannon Crespin, director of finance and personnel, recommended to continue moving forward with the policy, “so that if and when the time comes, we are able to hire a security personnel we have the policy in place first, so we aren’t rushing and if any opportunity rises, we’ll be ready.”

Superintendent Ron Hendrix clarified that because they couldn’t find anyone to fill the armed officer, the two positions were filled instead. This leaves no current openings, but approval of the policy would allow them to move forward, if something changed.

Crespin added that the high school decided to hire two security guards in lieu of the security personnel because they need security, and if the school were to hold that position open then the school wouldn’t have the security support. She said that a third position isn’t built into the budget.

School board member, Michael Hartgather, requested that they keep a job opening posted.

“If someone (certified) appeared, I would rather go find the money somewhere than be stuck in the position,” Hartgather said.

He suggested shuffling money around the district to come up with funding, “I completely understand why we need to get two people in immediately, I don’t question that, it’s how can we continue to bolster our district in the area of security.”

Hendrix said there was talk in the legislature about security money and the board discussed how they might get funding to support the armed security position. Hendrix said if they find someone qualified, they might be able to find money for it.

Crespin said that the position ideally needs to be done in conjunction with city or county law enforcement and later clarified that if that wasn’t possible the school would have the option to be the employer of the armed security personnel.

According to the policy, the security personnel would be authorized to carry firearms on school property. The requirements are that they are a retired or a former certified and commissioned in law enforcement with no less than three years’ experience with proper firearm training. They would not be allowed to carry a firearm in any off-body location and could only use deadly force as a last resort self-defense or defense of others. They would be required to pass a background screening and could not have been convicted of any felonies, misdemeanors or findings of ethical misconduct.

The equipment list includes an AR-15 assault rifle, a 9mm Smith & Wesson M&P gun, an armored vest, taser and handcuffs provided by the Socorro County Sheriff’s office.

The full policy and equipment list including all changes made during the readings can be found on the Socorro Consolidated Schools website.

Jessica Carranza Pino, Editor