GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) — After school shootings in Waukesha and Oshkosh this week, Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith spoke to Local 5 about active shooting situations and the department’s proposed plan to keep schools safe.
According to Chief Smith, the entire Green Bay Police Department was trained on how to handle active shooter situations in schools. School resource officers were given additional training before the school year.
He also went on to discuss how the students often respond in situations, saying, “It’s challenging to get those students from one place to another. In the times that I’ve done it and seen it happen, the kids have been really terrific. They’re more calm than you’d expect them to be.”
Chief Smith says the Green Bay Police Department has a good relationship with the Green Bay Area Public Schools and that they conduct regular training for situations like this.
Last year, Chief Smith and the GBPD proposed that armed SRO should be in school.
“The simple proposal that we put out last year from the Police Department…is we looked across the country for what works and what isn’t. We thought that the best way to keep kids safe was to have an armed, retired police officer, someone with 20 to 30 years experience, and proven ability to handle situations at every one of our schools.”
Chief Smith says that if the officers are retired, “they’ll work for a lower wage so they would not be as expensive as a regular police officer.” He estimates the total annual cost would be $2 million for Green Bay. When this idea was proposed, the school district voted it down.
“If anybody’s got a better idea than this about keeping our kids safe, I’d like to hear about it because I don’t think there’s a better idea.”
Despite this, Chief Smith says that the department is always ready to respond to situations and that, after incidents elsewhere occur, they prepare for copycats.
“We, whenever these incidents occur, are always worried about a copycat. We always provide extra patrol.”
Chief Smith adds that students now have a mechanism to contact law enforcement regarding any concerns. He says that tips provided through resources such as CrimeStoppers are “critical to stopping some of these incidents from happening.”
Today, thanks to technology, Chief Smith says those in the schools that may see something suspicious should reach out to law enforcement.
“Know that the police department is ready to respond,” says Chief Smith, “We just need the students and the teachers and everyone else who may have any information about a threat to let us know.”