A Georgia police department is asking three local schools to think about giving resource officers access to long range rifles that they could use in case of an emergency. Jay Parrish is a firearm trainer for the Gainesville Police Department. He said that the M4s would only be at the schools when the officers were present and that the weapons would be kept secure in safes.
"The adversary has bigger, better weapons than what the officers carry in their day-to-day operations," Parrish said. "In some of these schools, we have 100 plus foot hallways. A handgun is just not affective in that area, whereas a rifle would be."
The handguns that officers carry only fire about 16 rounds. Parrish said that being able to use an M4 would double the amount of rounds that an officer could fire and increase the distance.
If the measure is approved, the resource officers at Gainesville High School, Gainesville Middle School and Woods Mill Academy would begin keeping M4s on hand. The officers at those schools already have M4s, but they store them in their cars.
"If we have an officer in the school and there is an intruder that needs to be addressed, we don't want that officer to leave the school because then he may not have access back in," Parrish said.
Gainesville Schools Superintendent Merrianne Dyer is aware that having rifles at school makes some people nervous, but feels the move could pay off, CBS Atlanta reported.
"(People want) some assurance that they will be secured, just really more information," Dyer said. "What we've learned is that these things happen quickly and they happen unexpectedly and in places and locations where we can't anticipate.”
The school governance boards will vote on the measure in October.