Firefighter sparks $18,000 security improvement in Massac Co. sc - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Firefighter sparks $18,000 security improvement in Massac Co. schools

(Source: KFVS) (Source: KFVS)

More than $12,000 has been raised to increase security at local schools in Massac County, Illinois, following multiple manhunts for armed and dangerous men in the area.

The final, entirely donation-funded price tag is valued at just over $18,500 and would install high security door locks on every classroom door in Massac County.

"Times have changed"

“Ten years ago, schools were kind of a safe zone,” fundraising organizer and Metropolis Fire CPT Micah Tolbert said. “Educators would look after our kids when we sent them off, and active shooters were something we just didn’t talk about or had to be concerned with. Unfortunately, this day and time, they’re happening at an accelerated rate where it’s just something we just have to prepare for”

Massac County authorities successfully tracked down two men in early August and early September, both of whom were considered armed and dangerous.

Metropolis Police Chief Harry Masse said the door locks can act as a first line of defense; as it can sometimes be a challenge for law enforcement to quickly respond to calls from the more rural areas they cover.

“We can hide from the facts,” Masse said. “We can pretend that Columbine, and Sandy Hook, and Pearle Mississippi and even Heath High School shootings won’t happen in Massac County, but I’m sure those other schools thought the same thing. We want to make sure we can protect them as well as we can and if we can save a few minutes of carnage before we get there, it's going to make everyone more grateful.”

Upgrades under way

“This is an older school,  and these buildings weren’t set up for this,” Franklin School Principle Jr. Conkle said. “So many of the teachers may have to step out into the hall to lock their doors… which, could obviously pose a safety hazard.”

The new "Nightlock" locks can only be engaged or disengaged from the interior, save use of a key given only to area law enforcement.

“The number one thing, and the foundational thing that we have to provide at the school is to provide a safe and secure environment for our kids,” Conkle said.

Franklin School already has a handful of the mechanisms in place, and four of the nine schools in the county are already funded in full.

That was accomplished in just over three weeks.

Tolbert said public support of the project  was overwhelming, with several multi-thousand dollar donations coming from Metropolis businesses.

Donations can be dropped off at the Metropolis Fire or Police Departments, Bantara and City National Banks in Metropolis.

There is also a Gofundme page you can find by clicking here.

An example

The effort inspired a Franklin County, Illinois paramedic to start a similar fundraising effort for Christopher schools.

Michelle Gunning presented the idea to the Christopher School Board at their September 26, 2016 meeting.

Gunning has already raised $500, out of the $6,448 she says is needed for every classroom in Christopher.

Gunning says she is raising the money in honor of Former long-time Christpher Police Chief James Trogolo.

Trogolo died in 2015.

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