Following the December 14, 2012 killing of 20 children, four teachers, the principal and psychologist in Sandy Hook Elementary School, and his mother by Adam Lanza in Newtown, Connecticut (CNN), Wayne LaPierre (bio) of the National Rifle Association gave a “Press Conference” (in which the Press were not allowed to ask any questions). He suggested that the Federal Government hire police officers for every school in the USA (full transcript: Daily Caller, Washington Post).
Left unsaid is how many new police officers we would need, and what it would cost to hire, train, and equip them.
While it seems ironic that a fellow who described Federal law enforcement agents as “Jack-Booted Thugs” (which prompted President George H. W. Bush to quit the NRA, here), would want to put them in schools, given that there are hundreds of millions of guns in private hands across the United States (Mother Jones / Small Arms Survey PDF), perhaps we should follow the NRA’s and Mr. LaPierre’s suggestion and turn the United States into a police state – that is to say, put armed police at every school.
Because schools are open 6 or 7 days per week, and 12 hours per day – for sports events and other extra-curricular activities in addition to teaching; we would need at least two police officers for each school. They need to be paid, trained, equipped and supervised. In the press conference, Mr. LaPierre suggested that the Federal Government pay these costs, presumably via new taxes.
If we budget $50,000 plus benefits ($12,000), training ($6,000), uniform ($200), body armor ($1,000), weapons ($1,000), ammunition ($1,250), electronics (tablet, computer, radio, etc – $4000), a vehicle ($5000/yr), that adds up to $80,875 per police officer per school and $22.7 Billion to put two police officers at each of the 140,040 K-12 schools in the USA.
Table 1 shows the details per police officer.
|Estimated cost for Police Officer|
There are approximately 140,000 elementary schools in the United States (Table 2).
|K-12 Schools in the US|
This adds up to $22.7 Billion for the first year (Table 3).
|Total K=12 Schools||140,040|
|Per Police Officer||80,875|
Since some of the items, such as weapons, body armor, vehicles and electronics last a few years, the recurring costs would be lower. This is illustrated in the amount budgeted for vehicles. $5,000 per year should be enough to purchase, fuel and maintain a serviceable vehicle.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS, there were 794,300 police officers and detectives, and their median income was $55,010, or $26.45 per hour in 2010, here. Hiring two new police officers per school in the US would be an increase in the number of police officers by 35.3%, from 794,300 by 280,080, to 1,074,380 to 934,340.
In light of the arson / ambush in Webster, NY on Dec. 24, 2012, we should also have two armed police officers travel with every fire company in the US.
Given that the FBI and local law enforcement have monitored “Occupy Wall Street,” (CNN, NY Times) these police officers, like the Stasi in the Communist country that was East Germany, could also keep tabs on students and teachers likely to be sympathetic to “subversive” causes, such as “Occupy Wall Street.”
Alternatively, we could revise or re-interpret the Second Amendment, perhaps restricting ammunition magazines and the types of weapons people may purchase, requiring training, psychological testing, licensing and registration for all people who want to buy and own weapons.
– Part 1 of a series. See also
- L. J. Furman, July 30, 2012, The Second Amendment Revisited
- L. J. Furman, August 1, 2012, Justice Scalia on the Second Amendment
- L. J. Furman, Dec. 27, 2012, An Armed Police Presence in Every School, this post,
- L. J. Furman & J. Soroko, Dec. 31, 2012, Securing our Schools, Part 2
– I hold a Bachelor’s in Biology and an MBA in “Managing for Sustainability” from Marlboro College. I focus on energy, ecological economics, and sustainable finance. I can be reached at ‘L Furman 97” @ G Mail . com and US 732 . 580 . 0024.