Army vet patrols sidewalks outside his daughters’ schools

Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 7:44 AM MDT
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LACEY, Wash. (KING) - Army veteran Anthony Triplett Jr. spends more than 20 hours a week walking around the campuses of a Washington school district.

Triplett, who was medically retired from the Army in 2018, decided he wanted to help, so he started patrolling the sidewalks around North Thurston Public Schools, the school district his daughters attend.

What he’s doing is perfectly legal. But Thurston County’s sheriff isn’t so sure, and the school district said it’s had a handful of complaints from parents.

Triplett patrols the campuses with his service dog Jude by his side and his sidearm at his hip.

“What I like about this area is you can see pretty much the entire opening,” Triplett said as he patrolled.

He served two combat tours in Afghanistan before a leg injury forced his medical retirement from the Army.

After the Uvalde school shooting in May, he felt he was called back to duty by his two daughters.

“It was my kids and other kids asking me, ‘Hey, what are they doing to keep us safe?’” Triplett said.

Triplett responded that they weren’t doing enough.

So he volunteered to talk to students off-campus and walk the sidewalks of the schools for about 20 hours a week.

He has not needed to act but said he’s ready should something happen.

“If I were to hear an explosion or gunshots, or something like that, see a crowd of students running out, say they said someone’s firing, I’m going in,” he said.

While everything Triplett does is legal, the Thurston County sheriff said he would like Triplett to leave the security to the professionals.

State Senator Patty Kuderer said she empathizes with Triplett and says what he’s doing “is a damning statement of where we are as a society.”

Kuderer also said it was “high time” for politicians to take steps to reduce threats of gun violence.

“What’s the better alternative we can do, right now, to keep our kids safe?” Triplett said.

Triplett said he knows what he’s doing makes some people uncomfortable, but he said he believes he’s making schools safer.

“We leave our kids vulnerable. It doesn’t feel right to me,” he said. “It’s not that the schools aren’t doing enough. I want the educators to be able to educate.”