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Local law enforcement and schools react to NRA's suggestion

LA CROSSE, Wis. -- - Many La Crosse-area schools already have a police presence.

But having an armed officer at every school would be a big change.

It's an idea some school and law enforcement officials in the La Crosse area say is a good idea -- in theory.

The La Crosse School District already has five full-time officers working at its middle and high schools.

It's a different story for nine elementary schools; none have a police presence.

La Crosse School District Superintendent Randy Nelson said while he thinks it could be a good idea, it would cost close to a half-million dollars to hire another nine officers for all the elementary schools.

"It's something we already have a model in place for that I think really works and I think really does help at our high schools and middle schools. The issue really becomes, 'How would you pay for those positions?' 'How would you make those positions happen?' but certainly the safety and security of our children should be first," said Nelson.


Nelson also said it's more of short-term solution to increase safety.

He said it will take more to end school violence completely.

"I think there are bigger and broader societal things that we all need to, and I mean everyone when I say all, need to get our arms around understand why these things happen, how these things happen and how can we be more proactive in terms of preventing these kinds of atrocities," said Nelson.

Onalaska Police Chief Jeff Trotnic said an additional police presence would make schools safer but wouldn't solve all the security problems.

He also said funding would be a challenge.

He said to have one officer at each Onalaska school would cost close to a quarter of a million dollars.

"Anything's feasible if people are willing to pay money for it. Again, when you look at budgets where they are now, it would be difficult for Onalaska to bring in four additional police officers without addressing the issue of how are we going to pay for it," said Trotnic.

Trotnic said it would likely cost even more to have officers spend all their time patrolling schools.

Right now, the resource officer and DARE officer at the schools have a variety of responsibilities that keep them busy throughout the day.

Nelson said he's already working on increasing security at all the schools.

He said they've been looking into putting in buzzer systems and new doors at school entrances.

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