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Green Bay police chief proposes armed security officer in each school

Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith speaks at a news conference Feb. 23, 2018, to discuss safety in schools. (WLUK/Gabrielle Mays)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- Green Bay police chief Andrew Smith proposed stationing armed security officers in Green Bay schools during a news conference on safety issues Friday morning.

"We need someone there to prevent them from coming in and if they do manage to breach that front door, someone that's going to stop them," said Andrew Smith, Green Bay police chief.

The news conference was in response to last week's shooting at a high school in Florida, as well as a social media threat against schools in the Green Bay area earlier this week.

The solution, armed security officers in front of all 40 Green Bay area schools.

"I think a recently retired police officer that has carried a weapon for 30 years and demonstrated 25 or 30 years of handling himself correctly or handling herself correctly of being responsible of being in crisis situations, responding properly would be the ideal candidate for that," Smith said.

How much is something like this going to cost? Smith estimates $2.5 million a year. But who's going to pay for it?

"That's a lot of money. Maybe there's state money that the legislature would be able to give us. Maybe we'd be able to get the people in Green Bay to support something like that," Smith said.

The school district is on board with the idea but also stressed the current measures in place to help protect students.

"I also want to remind our community that we engage in preperation and planning and drills and they will continue," said Michelle Langenfeld, Green Bay Area Public Schools superintendent.

In case you're wondering about those armed officers at schools, Smith gives a bit more insight on his idea.

"My envision of this thing is that the officer would have a sidearm and would have that sidearm with them wherever they go. If they're checking the perimeter of the school, if they're out in the parking lot, they would have that sidearm," Smith said.

The chief adds, he's willing to listen to members of the community and his proposal is still in the beginning stages.

"If anybody has a better idea, you know, we'll go with the best idea wins. This isn't the, you know, my idea or the highway," Smith said.

The police department and school says it will schedule a community engagement session to give parents, lawmakers and community members a chance to suggest ideas and join a general discussion about school safety.

The session was previously scheduled for March 8, but the district says there is a scheduling conflict with that date and will announce a new date next week.


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