ATHOL, Idaho — An Athol Elementary School said you can call them one of safest grade schools in North Idaho.
This month, the Lakeland School District started putting their new armed guard to work. The district said they're the first in Idaho to do something like this when it comes to school security.
The armed guard, Mikell Hogan, is a more than 20-year veteran of law enforcement. He said he's glad to be helping. District leaders said parents at Athol Elementary are really glad he's here.
Hogan is still using his training, but instead of pulling over bad guys on the street, he'll make sure they're staying away from elementary school children.
"Watching them grow up is going to be huge too and seeing how they do," he said.
Hogan is the first armed school security guard in the state of Idaho. Earlier in 2018, the Lakeland School District started the long process of hiring him. It came out of talks regarding how to improve school safety. Using levy money earmarked for security, Hogan's job was created, and he was one of several people who applied.
"And thought that was something that I believed I would do well with," he said.
The district had said that they wanted the guard to be someone with either a law enforcement or military background. Hogan himself spent over 20 years as a sergeant with the New Mexico State Police. He had to pass several tests to get the job.
"Psychological evaluation. Had to do a physical fitness test with the Rathdrum police department. Had to qualify on the shooting range," Assistant Superintendent Lisa Sexton said.
The district says parents made it clear they didn't want these schools to be so-called "soft targets." Athol was chosen as Hogan's location due to its distance from local police departments.
"I know the process worked. It was long. But I know we have the right person in place," Sexton said.
Hogan, a father himself, said he's taking the job seriously. He applied because he knows he's highly qualified and wanted to set a high standard.
"So far, so good. It's awesome. It's such a great honor to be here, to be the first one in this position. I'm looking forward to being here many years," Hogan said.
As of now, Hogan is the only armed guard in the Lakeland School District. The district has said they'd like to add more but that will be dependent on future levy money and would be some time down the road.