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Rockwood Schools adding more armed guards, nearly 20 officers will patrol district


By Melanie Johnson

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    EUREKA, Missouri (KMOV) — The Rockwood School District is beefing up its security and adding four new armed safety guards before the new school year starts.

“The number one concern from our parents was our lack of officers at our elementary schools,” Public Safety Director Tyrone Dennis said. “So we tried to accommodate that by hiring these new four safety officers.”

The elementary school officers will join the already 13 school resource officers designated for Rockwood middle and high schools.

“We represent 25,000 students. We’ve had threats, and we’ve had incidents,” Dennis said.

On Wednesday, more than 20 Illinois schools received a shooting threat phone call that law enforcement has deemed a hoax.

Granite City High School was among the districts targeted and forced to go on lockdown.

“Every day, it’s a thought. Sending my children to school,” says St. Louis City parent Tamara Cooperwood.

Cooperwood said active shooter safety plans played a big role in deciding to send her kids to an independent school.

“You can never think it cannot happen to you,” she said. “It hit home. It was so close. It’s in the back of my mind and the forefront as every other parent. No matter where you are.”

As mass shootings continue to disrupt classrooms across the country, the demand for more law enforcement in school buildings is growing.

“It’s a huge investment, but it’s worth it. In my opinion, you can’t really put a price tag on safety,” Dennis said. “One of the number one deterrents of crime is officer presence. I think that these safety officers will not only be a presence, but they’ll also be a part of the fabric of the schools they interact with.”

The new Rockwood armed safety officers will start in July.

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