How Much Would It Cost To Put A Cop In Every School

A blog about business and economics.
Dec. 21 2012 11:42 AM

Putting a Police Officer In Every School Would Cost At Least $5.5 Billion a Year

In a somewhat unhinged press conference, National Rifle Association head Wayne LaPierre argued that instead of regulating guns better we should have a police officer in every school. He suggested we could pay for it by cutting foreign aid.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics there are 98,817 K-12 schools in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says cops make $55,000 a year. So we could put $5.4 billion as the low level estimate of the cost. Cops obviously have health care benefits and pension and disability benefits for police offers tend to be fairly costly so the real price would be higher than that.

At any rate, on both the policing side and the gun control side it would be a mistake to focus too much on spectacular school massacres. What happened at Sandy Hook was terrible, but at least 78 people have been shot and killed in America since then. If you want to regulate guns more strictly, the smart play is to focus on the portable concealable handguns that are widely used in those "ordinary" crimes and if you want to spend billions on hiring new police officers the smart play to focus on deploying them in the high-crime neighborhoods where most of the murdering happens. Obviously one would hope that a less-armed, lower-crime society would also feature fewer monstrous massacres as a side benefit but concentrating our policing resources on static defense of K-12 schools would be foolish.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
  Life
Gaming
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 11:51 PM Should You Freeze Your Eggs? An egg freezing party is not a great place to find answers to this or other questions.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.