Could it be that Soda Springs has created the solution to the prevention of mass violence and murder? Chief Jon Bunderson and the Officers of the Soda Springs Police Department implemented the initial phase of a program, this past fall, which does just that. THE GUARDIAN PROGRAM: According to Bunderson, the Guardian Program is not a "knee jerk" or emotional reaction to the recent violence and murders committed by our domestic children and citizens, it is a response created over the past several years of social and moral change. Many have a difficult time accepting that evil exists in our society and that in cannot be defeated with political, legislative action, or a medical cure. Each time we are faced with a mass act of violence or murder within our communities, whether it be a school, church, a public thoroughfare or gathering, the politicians and scholars begin lengthy processes of debate fueled by emotions and opinions. From these debates certain words will be used to inflame each political view. The end results of this process usually causes division and polarization. During nearly four decades as a Police Officer, Bunderson has been driven to a deeper understanding of why humans prey upon humans. Through thousands of interviews and interactions with both victims and criminals, a constant desire to create defense and protection was born. Experience, Wisdom, and tactics learned through training with some of the world's renowned experts have provided and confirmed Bunderson's and the Guardian Programs foundational beliefs and plan of action. THE SOLUTION: The solution begins with a mindset. The mindset that evil exists on this planet-always has and always will. With the changes in society, we must become and remain fluid in our mental process and tactics. There are no panaceas for all circumstances or environments. A weapon, tool, or tactic is only as useful as the person wielding it. UNDERSTANDING THOSE WHO CHOOSE TO DO US HARM: It would be easier for us to accept if the criminal or evil doer is an associate of a foreign enemy, terrorist organization, gang, or group committed to violence against our common goals or values. Oftentimes they are not, thus causing pause or emotional response. UNDERSTANDING THE THREAT: Most focus on the method or weapon used in the last incident. We tend to continue to fight the "last battle" rather than staying fluid and preparing for all manner of threat or attack. Utilizing a response which works in the most given of all situations should be the focus. Planning and training according to the plan; "reaction" to an incident usually occurs because no prior proper plan and contingency was formed. TRAIN ACCORDING TO YOUR PLAN: Your tactics and tools chosen should match the plan. Training is fundamental to success and is of most importance. Intelligence gathering, analyzing and making assessments is of high importance on the skill set level of tactics, oftentimes the preferred weapon of defense. FULL TIME POLICE OFFICERS ARE USED: The Guardian Program utilizes sworn full-time Police Officers to complete this task. Many suggest deployment of retired law enforcement, military veterans, security guards, or volunteers. Some suggest arming our school, church or other organizational staff. When active full-time law enforcement are utilized the combination of recent, ongoing training evolution as well as living the professional mindset and lifestyle is key to success and limited liability. The Guardian Program Officer differs from school resource officers, armed guards, and responding law enforcement. The officer of the Guardian Program is assigned to a position at the location or event during the duration of the school day or event time. This deployment is a perimeter outside, not within. Keeping evil from entering is the key. Intelligence through knowledge, experience, and history is compiled and analyzed. Assessments are also conducted upon those in close proximity and entering school or event property. Action is then taken to prevent a determined threat from entering, thus preserving the sanctuary of the educational or religious structure. CURRENT IMPLEMENTATION: Currently the Guardian Program has been deployed to protect the children of our public and private schools as well as their support staff. During the initial phase of the program's implementation, priority has been assigned to pre-school and elementary school facilities during peak hours. Increased phases and future levels of implementation of the Guardian Program will be dependent upon our cooperation and resources with the local school districts, city government and community support, for the success of this program. The symbol of the Guardian Program depicts an apple and a sword. The apple is vibrant red with a green leaf, symbolic of the educational institution and the healthy, thriving lives taught within. The sword stands upright, on guard and in front of the apple, and is a sword of the warrior at the ready. Upon the handguard of the sword is the inscription 144:1, referring to Psalms 144:1.