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ENFIELD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) – Armed guards will greet students at Enfield, Connecticut’s 14 schools when classes start up next Tuesday.
Enfield’s police chief said the decision to hire 20 retired police officers as armed guards was carefully thought out in response to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown last December.
The veteran cops will each carry a department-issued Glock Sidearm and be stationed at the front entrance of the town’s schools.
Chief Carl Sferrazza said each officer has decades of police experience and was given a physical and psychological exam before being hired as school security.
He said despite the vetting process, there are still critics.
“A lot of it stems from misinformation. People have not contacted me to get the facts of this, they’ve relied on social media,” Sferrazza told WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau.
The chief said once the critics have all the facts, they’ll likely see this as the most effective way to protect the children and the staff in school.
Sferrazza added the armed guards will also act as a deterrent.
The armed guards will act if a gunman breaches the upgraded security at the town’s public and parochial schools, Sferrazza said.
“We believe that once he’s in the building, unless there’s measures put in place such as the armed security officers that we have, we’re going to experience at least one casualty and that’s one too many,” said the chief.
All of Glastonbury’s schools will also have armed guards when classes start up later this week.
Newtown gunman Adam Lanza shot his way into the Newtown school, which had recently installed enhanced security measures.
He shot and killed 20 first graders and six educators before turning the gun on himself as police closed in.
The Dec. 14 shooting rampage pushed the issue of gun control back into the spotlight, with some proposing sweeping reforms.
The National Rifle Association recommended armed guards at every school in the wake of the shooting. NRA chief Wayne LaPierre was praised and criticized for his assertion that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
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