I didnt’ see it on TV, but last Sunday (I’m told) host David Gregory on NBC’s Meet the Press used quotes attributed to Fremont Police Chief Craig Steckler from weekend articles in the New York Times and the Washington Post. Those papers had called Steckler for his thoughts regarding comments made by NRA chief Wayne LaPierre last Friday, when LaPierre called for placing armed police officers at each school in the nation in order to prevent another school massacre.
Steckler criticized LaPierre’s ideas. Here’s his mention in the New York Times:
Craig Steckler, president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, called the rifle association’s proposal unrealistic and probably unwise. Putting at least one officer in each of the nation’s schools could mean hiring as many as 100,000 people, he said, expanding the ranks of state and local officers by one-quarter. Qualified applicants, he said, are already scarce.
“My city has 32 elementary schools, 5 middle schools, 6 high schools, and that doesn’t include private schools,” said Mr. Steckler, the police chief in Fremont, Calif., a city of 214,000 people. “My patrol force is 89 officers on all shifts. Where are we going to get 40-some additional officers?”
“I just don’t believe that putting more guns on the campus is a solution,” he added, saying that chiefs would rather see more resources devoted to mental health care and the control of assault weapons.
Here’s Steckler in the The Washington Post:
The NRA’s proposal would be unworkable given the huge numbers of officers needed, said the president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Craig Steckler.
He pointed to budget cuts and hiring freezes and noted that in his hometown of Fremont, Calif., it would take half the city’s police force to post one officer at each of the city’s 43 schools.
The Department of Education has counted 98,817 public schools in the United States and an additional 33,366 private schools.
In the meantime, we’ll have a story in Sunday’s Argus newspaper (and Oakland Tribune and Daily Review) that will profile Steckler. Sunday is his last day as Fremont’s chief of police. He’s retiring after a nearly 45-year career, the last 20 years spent as Fremont’s top cop.