Prosser upgrades security, looks to arm officer

Prosser upgrades security, looks to arm officer
PROSSER, Wash. - There's been a debate about whether to allow school security guards to carry a gun and now Prosser is moving forward with that plan. It has upgraded technology and wants to upgrade the manpower as well.

Duane Clarke has patrolled the halls of Prosser High for the last four years.

"People know who I am, I am not hard to find," said security officer Duane Clarke.

And now Prosser is considering giving Clarke a gun. It's already controversial to consider having an armed guard on a school campus. But this is a bigger concern because Clarke is a civilian. He's not a member of Prosser PD and therefore he's not an official school resource officer. The school district pays Clarke's full salary. Clarke believes the danger potential is always high and it's why he supports being armed.

"Potential violence within the school, people coming on campus, taking hostages, students, shooting administration," said Clarke.

Just recently, Prosser shored up a security weakness. It was exposed when police were chasing a man near an elementary school. The superintendent tried to lock down all the schools, but he couldn't reach one school via the radio. The school had to be called on the phone to know about the lockdown.

Eleven thousand dollars later, it now takes just the push of a button to communicate with all schools instantly. This is key to keeping all students safe when every second counts. Which is the district is moving forward with plans to arm their civilian security officer.

"Whether someone likes a gun or doesn't like a gun they have an expectation as Superintendent to keep our kids safe," said Prosser Superintendent Ray Tolcacher.

And that safety also includes better locks, motion detectors and lighting, all to become more transparent and keep student safety the number one priority.

"I like what I do," said Clarke.

Prosser used to have a traditional SRO whose salary was shared with the police department. But that went away when Prosser PD could no longer afford it. The district expects an approval on arming their security guard within a couple weeks.