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Northwest School Security Steps Include Armed Guards

School leaders in the Northwest are adjusting to the new year with additional security steps – including guards at schoolhouse doors.

Many school districts are tightening sign-in procedures and making sure school doors are locked.

And the small Southwest Washington district of Ridgefield is going further.

Spokesman Eric Jacobson says Ridgefield is spending about $40,000 to hire armed guards from a private security firm.

“This contract that we’re signing with Phoenix Protective Corporation isn’t just for the armed security that they’ll be providing. We’re also consulting with them for them to review our existing school security procedures and protocols.”

Nearby urban districts, like Vancouver, Evergreen — and Portland and David Douglas in Oregon — already have armed personnel. But they’re sworn police officers.

Jacobson says Ridgefield schools had a police officer for two years, until grant money ran out in 2010.

Vancouver school officials say they added a police officer and seven unarmed security guards in the wake of the Connecticut shootings.