Plainfield police ask district to consider gun safes in schools - FOX 32 News Chicago

Plainfield police ask district to consider having gun safes in high schools

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

Plainfield police would like to put some extra firepower in the village's high schools.

Police have asked the district to consider installing gun safes in the schools so the school resource officer can keep a rifle in his or her office.

Plainfield School Board members were scheduled to consider the request at their board meeting Monday night.

The gun safes would be installed in the school police officers' offices at high schools in the village of Plainfield — Plainfield North, Plainfield Central, Plainfield Academy and Plainfield East.

Only the police officer would have access to the safe, which could also be used to store confidential information, evidence and other equipment. The Plainfield Police Department would buy the safes, and school district personnel would install them.

"The whole proposal just goes back to giving our officers all the tools that would help them respond to any type of intruder situation or active shooter type of situation," says Plainfield Police Chief John Konopek.

"We hope it never happens," Konopek said. "But in the event we have an incident with an intruder, we want the school resource officers to be able to access that additional weaponry."

School shooters often come armed to the hilt, with multiple guns and even explosives, he said.

"It's a very sad statement of society, but we wouldn't be doing our job if we didn't (prepare for the worst-case scenario)," Konopek said. "Some of these active shooters are actually starting to wear body armor. And in most instances unless we're right on top of the offender, our side arms may not penetrate that body armor, whereas the ammunition that the rifle would shot, you would have a better chance of penetrating that body armor."

Plainfield police train annually on how to handle a school shooting and have found that police are better able to handle that type of incident with a long gun, which is more accurate at longer distances.

School district spokesman Tom Hernandez said the board is willing to consider the request, if that's what the police feel is needed.

Joliet police are not planning to ask whether they can install a gun safe in Plainfield South High School, said Joliet Police Chief Mike Trafton.

Having the gun safe in the office does not guarantee the officer would be able to reach it in case of an emergency, Konopek said. Patrol officers also keep a rifle in their squad cars.

The gun would simply be another potential tool at their disposal, he said.

"As a parent of two high school kids, I would hope the police agency that's protecting my child would have all the tools and resources to address that type of situation," Konopek said.

The Plainfield School District tells FOX Chicago News it can't comment at this point as the school and its attorneys are reviewing the language in the proposal.

Parents over at Plainfield Central High School have some mixed reactions.

"It seems like if there was a situation going on, it would be hard for the police to get inside to get the gun and other than that, I don't see any reason for anybody to be keeping a gun in school," says Amie Simpson.

Marcia Davis think it's a good idea.

"I would be very comfortable if they had it locked up and so when something like that, if, hopefully that doesn't happen. But, if it occurs then they can protect us, protect the students."

The Chicago Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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