Money seized in drug busts to aid against active shooter attacks - KCTV5

Money seized in Overland Park drug busts to aid against active shooter attacks

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OVERLAND PARK, KS (KCTV) -

Police are using money from drug busts to buy equipment that could save lives during a mass shooting.

The new equipment includes gun cabinets that could hold rifles and ammunition inside some Shawnee Mission schools.

In Newtown, CT, 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed 20 children and six adults in less than 11 minutes.

"What it takes is absolute speed. Statistics show during the first confrontation with the officers, active shooters surrender or kill themselves. The point is getting officers to the point of contact just as fast as possible," Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass said.

Douglass wants to speed up response times by installing gun cabinets to hold rifles and additional ammunition.

"Those would allow us to store weapons in certain strategic places. Because they are strategic, I'm not going to go into where we would put them or how we would use them," Douglass said.

Public safety committee meeting documents show those gun cabinets would be placed inside six Shawnee Mission schools. School resource officers would have access to the cabinets. Click here to read more.

"They are locked up, so they are secure. I think any parent would clearly understand that in an active shooter situation we are going to want the SRO's (security resource officers) to be armed adequately enough to stop the killing as fast as possible. Understanding that is essential to carrying out that mission.  I hope there is no response negatively," Douglass said.

Drug forfeiture money will also be used to purchase 125 new first-aid kits for police officers. The kits will include equipment that could keep someone alive until medical crews arrive.

"Generally speaking, they hold back until the situation is stabilized. With an active shooter in an area of a school, that could take an hour or two hours," Douglass said.

Douglass says gathering gear also takes away precious time.

Right now, rifles are stored in patrol cars, ammunition is stored separately in the car. First-aid kits are often kept in the trunk. Using drug forfeiture funds, the department will purchase 125 "jump bags" that hold all of that gear in one location.

"This allows us to grab the bag with the things pre-staged and move," Douglass said.

In all, the department will spend about $12,500 on gear to improve officers' response times. Douglass says every minute counts.

"The Columbine incident showed us exactly why that was the case. When we went with what was conventional tactics at the time, brought in the tact unit, stayed outside and tried to negotiate, people were inside dying," he said.

The Overland Park Police Department is still in the process of purchasing all of the equipment, including the gun cabinets.

Douglass says the gun cabinets will include cases and specialized locks.  The weapons would only be inside the schools during the time school resource officers are on duty.  They would be taken out of the school each night.

Currently, school resource officers, who are armed with handguns, keep their rifles in their patrol vehicles outside the schools.

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