From his office at the Shawnee Mission school district administrative center, John Douglass, the district’s director of safety and security, points to a sitting area in the hallway about 25 feet away.
It’s the distance a trained police officer can typically shoot an assailant with accuracy, he says. Next, he points to a door farther down the hallway — a distance still much shorter than the typical hallway at a Shawnee Mission school.
“To expect that I could stop somebody with a pistol from here to there….” He doesn’t finish his sentence.
Douglass cites the rising threat of active shooter situations as the reason why the district’s police department has issued eight semi-automatic rifles to its district resource officers, who have operated separately from municipal police forces since 1972.
District resource officers, responsible for security across the entire district, help school resource officers, based in schools, keep students safe.
“This weapon is a very serious weapon for some very limited circumstances,” said Douglass, the former chief of the Overland Park Police Department. “You are never going to see it unless something really, really bad is happening.”