Plainfield police seek to keep rifles in safes in high schools
By Janet Lundquist email@example.com August 20, 2012 3:52PM
Updated: September 22, 2012 6:22AM
PLAINFIELD — Plainfield police would like to put some extra firepower in the village’s high schools.
Police have asked the district to consider installing gun safes in the schools so the school resource officer can keep a rifle in his or her office.
Plainfield School Board members were scheduled to consider the request at their board meeting Monday night.
The gun safes would be installed in the school police officers’ offices at high schools in the village of Plainfield — Plainfield North, Plainfield Central, Plainfield Academy and Plainfield East.
Only the police officer would have access to the safe, which could also be used to store confidential information, evidence and other equipment. The Plainfield Police Department would buy the safes, and school district personnel would install them.
The rifle could be useful if a situation involving a shooter arises, said Plainfield Police Chief John Konopek.
“We hope it never happens,” Konopek said. “But in the event we have an incident with an intruder, we want the school resource officers to be able to access that additional weaponry.”
School shooters often come armed to the hilt, with multiple guns and even explosives, he said.
“It’s a very sad statement of society, but we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t (prepare for the worst-case scenario),” Konopek said.
Plainfield police train annually on how to handle a school shooting and have found that police are better able to handle that type of incident with a long gun, which is more accurate at longer distances.
School district spokesman Tom Hernandez said the board is willing to consider the request, if that’s what the police feel is needed.
Joliet police are not planning to ask whether they can install a gun safe in Plainfield South High School, said Joliet Police Chief Mike Trafton.
Having the gun safe in the office does not guarantee the officer would be able to reach it in case of an emergency, Konopek said. Patrol officers also keep a rifle in their squad cars.
The gun would simply be another potential tool at their disposal, he said.
“As a parent of two high school kids, I would hope the police agency that’s protecting my child would have all the tools and resources to address that type of situation,” Konopek said.
Reporter Brian Stanley contributed to this report.