ROZUM: Safety is bigger than sentinelsCurrent bill not best way to secure schools.
By: Tona Rozum , Guest columnist
Sentinels in schools was a highly debated bill that would allow for schools, with approval from local law enforcement, to have armed security.
Currently, a school can hire an officer for protection and this bill would broaden who could be armed. Many amendments were offered and debated; in fact, so many that it became obvious this bill needed more work. The people impacted by this were not at the table as the bill was in the process of being drafted, which started in early November, and that became very obvious by emails and the lack of support. The training component is not clear and, more importantly, how to react or act in tense and dangerous situations is critical.
The current solution for those areas of our state where law enforcement can’t be there in a timely manner could be to deputize a person who would have the appropriate training. The bill will go to the Senate, although I don’t think it is in good form for addressing the many concerns.
The bigger concern is how to make and keep schools safe for our kids. That involves more than armed guards or armed sentinels. This deserves a discussion with all the parties to address the entire issue of safety.
The bill to revamp our prison system, how and when we incarcerate people, how we deal with non-violent crimes and how we treat people dealing with alcohol and drug issues, was an excellent example of all the parties in the trenches coming together and working through the issues.
If we keep doing it the same way, we will need two new prisons at the cost of $224 million over the next 10 years. We will continue to have high recidivism rates and we will not have treated the problems. All parts of this bill fit together, so it was imperative that it remain intact. We aren’t reinventing the wheel. It works in 43 states.
This week a bill to revise certain provisions concerning non-resident waterfowl licenses drew debate and was defeated. This bill would allow for Game, Fish and Parks to promulgate rules on non-resident waterfowl licenses and remove from statute current license requirements. The Farmers Union supports this bill because it has the potential to allow for improved management practices from geese depredation.
Upcoming Cracker Barrels:
* 10 a.m. Saturday, Mitchell Technical Institute, south campus amphitheater.
* 2:30 p.m. Feb. 18, Wessington Springs.
— Tona Rozum, a Republican from Mitchell, represents District 20 (Davison, Aurora and Jerauld counties) in the South Dakota House of Representatives.