GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith has proposed a plan to have armed security guards at schools in the district as a way to prevent or stop school shootings.
Chief Smith, standing alongside Superintendent Michelle Langenfeld, a Brown County sheriff's deputy and others said, "I'm proposing today -- and this is in consultation with everybody you see up here -- the Green Bay solution to this ongoing problem. And that would be to have an officer, a security officer, armed in every school, ready to respond to reduce that response time to somebody that's trying to do harm to our children."
The police department, Green Bay Area Public School District, and Brown County Sheriff's Office came together Friday to address parent concerns about school shooting threats and school safety after the Parkland, Florida, school shooting.
"The problem is, when someone breaks into a school and comes in through that front door, in those first critical minutes they're armed, they're going to take on as many, turn as many of our children into victims as possible. We need someone there to stop them," Smith says.
He continued, "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. And I think the right person to do that is an armed security officer at the front of every school in our school district."
Smith suggested a current or retired police officer who is versed in weapons safety and responding to crisis situations would be the "ideal" candidate for the job.
"We would consider current officers that would want to transition into another position. We would consider military people who have the right skill set. I really like the idea of an officer that's spent a couple of decades working in the city or working in an environment like this that has proven they know how to handle themselves in crisis situation and proven they know how to handle a weapon, comfortable in doing that," the police chief said.
Police increased presence at area schools Wednesday after a social media threat mentioned a shooting at schools in Green Bay, Ashwaubenon, West De Pere and Oneida.
"After Wednesday's social media threat, several parents have brought forth their concerns, voiced their fear, and displayed apprehension about student and school safety," reads a statement from police.
GBAPS Superintendent Michelle Langenfeld spoke at the press conference. She says school administrators have heard concerns and fears from the community about improving safety. Langenfeld assured the community that any threat to schools will be taken seriously, and there will be serious consequences.
"We've heard concerns, we've heard fears and we've heard many suggestions in terms of how we can improve safety. As I've said and I will repeat it over and over again, the safety and well-being of students and staff is and will continue to be our top priority," Langenfeld said.
Police and the district are planning a Community Engagement Session about school safety. The district is working on a date and time.
"Let's face it. If you're a guy that's going to break into a school and shoot little kids you're a coward, you're a despicable, evil coward and cowards are afraid of police officers with guns," Smith says. "They won't come in, and if they do we'll have to have officers ready to respond to that threat."