DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado lawmakers are focused on school safety following the shooting in Newtown, Conn., and on Friday they got feedback from some of those closest to the issue.
They came from all over the state — police, educators, parents — with one purpose in mind — to make Colorado’s students safer in school.
“Some of the stakeholders in school safety in the state are paying attention,” John Michael Keyes said. “I think that’s an important thing.”
Keyes understands the stakes better than most. His daughter Emily died in a shooting at Platte Canyon High School six years ago.
“What I do today is absolutely is about losing Emily,” he said.
School safety has taken on added significance in state legislatures across the country this year with bills ranging from arming teachers to providing more school psychologists. But while the School Safety Summit comes just a month after the Sandy Hook shootings, it’s not in response to it.
“I can’t tell you first of all how much appreciate you showing up,” said Sen. Steve King, R-Mesa County.
King, a former police officer, has hosted the event for six years. Every year he says new legislation has emerged from it.
“Whether it’s talking about what kind drills staff and kids are doing during critical incidents; evacuation, reverse evacuation, lockdown,” King said.
This year’s focus is school resource officers. King plans to carry a bill that would put an armed officer in every school in the state.
“Over the last 30 years we’ve seen school resource officers evolve, we’ve seen the training evolve,” King said.
But in Jefferson County alone the sheriff’s office said it would cost more than $3.5 million.
“It’s priorities, it really is about priorities,” Keyes said.
Keyes would argue that there’s no greater priority than keeping children safe.
The Obama administration announced this week it will commit $150 million in federal funding for school resource officers nationwide.