Gainesville police officers will soon have rifles on campus - CBS46 News

Gainesville police officers will soon have rifles on campus

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Gainesville High School, Gainesville Middle School and Wood's Mill Academy resource officers already have handguns. District leaders made it clear in a vote Monday night that they want even more protection in those schools.

It's something the Gainesville Police Department has wanted for a while now.

"The rifle is more of a precision shot in that they're able to respond quickly and the accuracy is a whole lot better than the sidearm that we carry on our hip," said Cpl. Joe Britte.

Britte told CBS Atlanta News the active shooter event at McNair Discovery Learning Academy in DeKalb County made the Gainesville Police Department take a closer look at how it could better protect some of the schools there.

"With our schools, our new make-up of our schools, we have long hallways," said Britte.

Britte said in the event of a school shooting, leaving the building to get a rifle stored in the officer's car could mean the difference between life and death.

It's why the department is pleased City Council voted yes to allow resources officers to have access to a rifle already inside the building.

However, the long-range rifle will be stored in a safe place away from staff and students.

"It will be stored in a biometrics safe. The officers will have access to it at all times. When the officer leaves the building, they then take it home with them. So it will not be left alone at any time," said Britte.

A representative for the city, Caetiel Fleps, told CBS Atlanta News the police department and the school district will split the cost of the rifles.

It could be four to six weeks before the rifles are in place.

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