PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — In the wake of the Connecticut massacre, many schools across the country are trying to figure out how to better protect students.
Now, the local police union says it can help schools here.
In Butler Schools, the problem is already addressed. Armed, retired state police were given permission Monday to carry their firearms in all 14 district schools.
Now the issue, do other districts with similar needs have access to police officers with similar skills?
“We have plenty of officers well trained, equipped and they receive also mandatory training every year to fill in whatever the needs may be; if it’s in the school districts, we have the men that can fill that void,” Fraternal Order of Police President Henry Wiehagen.
Wiehagen represents 129 county departments. He says there are hundreds of certified, highly-trained officers ready to go, ready to carry their guns into schools.
KDKA’s Marty Griffin: “Do you think it’s important that these officers have guns, sir?”
Wiehagen: “Yes, most definitely because not only would the individuals be victims, that police officer’s the target once you’re in uniform and you should have a gun on you.”
Long before last week’s mass shooting in Connecticut, some local districts had officers with guns in schools.
“When the kids see the officers there and when the students see the officers there, it makes them think twice before they’re going to cause any problems for the most part,” said Chief Greg Geppert, of Swissvale Police.
Geppert has two armed officers in Woodland Hills Schools.
“I don’t know that the gun makes a difference as far as the students, but as far as the environment – such as Connecticut – if somebody did come in there with a gun, the officers are armed,” Geppert added.