FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Franklin Police Department unveiled a new tool to keep kids safe. News 2 got a first look at the new device.
“We refer to it as the ‘key to the city’ because we feel like it will get us any place we need to be,” said Franklin Police Chief Deborah Faulkner.
The new tool is called a kinetic breaching tool. It uses blank cartridges that push energy through its steel ram, essentially acting as a safer way to break through a door or window within seconds, without using explosives.
“If someone is barracked in the door, we can get into that door,” explained Chief Faulkner. “They’ve trained with it, they know what it will do, they know what it’s capable of.”
The Franklin Police Department has joined a long list of agencies across Middle Tennessee that have publically revealed new safety measures in response to the Uvalde shooting that killed 21 students and teachers.
School safety is now being hailed as the highest priority for law enforcement agencies, with many officers working double time to train ahead of the first day of school.
“We take advantage in the summertime where the schools are empty, except for staff and especially those schools that have portable buildings, outbuildings, that could be easily assessable to someone with wrong-doing on their mind,” Chief Faulkner said.
She explained, that while threats can happen within school buses and hallways, they can also happen in other areas, like school buses.
“We’ve also used school buses in the event that someone barricaded themselves on a school bus,” said Chief Faulkner.
With school just a week away, the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to News 2, that there are currently 10 open School Resource Officer positions going into the new school year. Spokesperson Sharon Puckett explained, “five schools will not have full-time SROs at the beginning of the school year.” However, she also explained the open positions do not mean safety isn’t a priority. Instead, the department will patrol schools, even if they do not have a full-time SRO.
“This is an extremely high priority to us, we are doing everything we can to prepare and to train and be ready if the worse happens, which we pray it never does,” said Chief Faulkner. “Our policy now and always has been to go directly to the threat and to stop it immediately.”
Police say, every year, they will be re-visiting their school safety procedures.