Safes would offer quick rifle access for school resource officers

Posted at 9:58 AM, Oct 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-31 11:58:58-04

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    HAYWOOD COUNTY, N.C. (WLOS) — There’s a new idea for school security in Haywood County.

School leaders want school resource officers (SROs), to have ready access to rifles on campus, stored inside secured gun safes.

They say that in this era, they must be proactive.

“Many years ago, we would never have thought that we would have the Columbine situation or Stoneman-Douglas,” said Superintendent Bill Nolte. “We’re forced to think about a lot of things that we hope will never come true.”

Nolte said he has board of education authorization to allow the sheriff’s office, and Waynesville and Canton police departments, to put long-gun storage safes in the county’s three high schools and three middle schools.

“We have had one agency make a request, and I believe the safe has been placed,” Nolte said.

They will be in discreet locations, only accessible by the schools’ resource officers through controlled means.

The idea is for the officer to have something more than a sidearm, if needed, inside school buildings, to confront a potential shooter with a high-powered weapon, without spending valuable time retrieving a long gun from their vehicles.

“I think that’s a very smart idea to have something so close, and as long as it’s secured well enough, so only certain people could have access to it, I think it’s a great idea,” said parent Emily Sheppard.

“It’s scary,” says Haywood County resident Patricia Miller, while also acknowledging times have changed.

“If it keeps our kids safer, then I’m OK with it,” she said.

The move has local law enforcement support from a school district knowing it must be proactive with safety measures.

“This is just another precautionary step that we hope we’ll never need to use,” Nolte said.

There are no SRO’’s at Haywood County’s elementary schools, so the gun safes are only slated for the middle and high schools.

Elementary SRO’s remain on the wish list.

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