As of Tuesday, March 21, 2017
KOOSKIA After almost two years of discourse, rewrites and discussion, Mountain View School District 244’s board passed its Use of Force policy at the Feb. 27 regular meeting at Clearwater Valley High School in Kooskia.
Board chair Mike Dominguez of Kooskia and trustees Rebecca Warden (Grangeville), Casey Smith (Clearwater) and Lot Smith (Grangeville) all voted yes on the policy while newest member Jeremy Harris of Grangeville voted no, citing his desire to only have guns in lock boxes and not carried by an employee.
“I’m glad it’s approved, I’m relieved the decision is made and a policy is in place,” said Dominguez last week. “And I don’t feel Jeremy is ‘against’ the policy, I just believe he felt strongly about weapons being in a lock box.”
At an earlier board meeting, Grangeville Police Chief Morgan Drew advised guns be on designated staff persons as statistics show it would be difficult to get to a lock box and utilize a weapon in the event of an emergency.
Now, Dominguez said, superintendent Kent Stokes will gather names of those individuals – who, with a minor change to the policy before its adoption by the board, must be employees of MVSD 244, not simply a designated individual – who would be willing to carry a firearm. At that point, those names will be given to the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office.
“Those people have to be vetted through a background check and psychological evaluation,” Dominguez said. “We are relying on the ICSO for their expertise in all of this.”
The district will pay for the checks and evaluations and from there, ICSO would provide training that Dominguez said will include an extra eight hours over what the department requires of its officers.
“Everyone obviously wants to make sure there is proper training,” he said. “This is all a process and will not happen overnight.”
Dominguez said he knows there are some who did not agree with the idea of a policy, but also said he has not had anyone tell him “this is the worst decision ever!” he said.
“I believe our board did what we were elected to do. We worked on an issue that is pertinent and we listened to our constituents,” he said. “I know I have friends who may not totally agree 100 percent, but we are still friends and we can still discuss it.”
Dominguez said he was happy with the process that was out in the open with information available at meetings, on the district’s web site and in the media.
“I think people will also find we’re not exactly on the cutting edge with this,” he said. “Many districts have these policies already, we just don’t always hear about it.”