Emporia Schools Get Armed Security Guards

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Security guards at Emporia Public Schools began carrying guns Friday. Officials say this change in policy is to speed up response time in case of an emergency.

Jeff Ilk, a security official at Emporia High School, now carries a Glock 22 .40 caliber semiautomatic handgun. Illk's job includes guarding the school and patrolling the hallways, but he's only allowed to use his gun in accordance with state law.

"If there were an armed intruder," said Illk. "The times that I would use the weapon are very limited and I follow the state protocol."

Illk is one of two armed security guards in the Emporia School District. While officials began discussing the possibility of letting security guards carry guns in September, principal Scott Sheldon said the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut sped up the process

"Things were starting to progress in that direction," said Sheldon. "We did speed up some of the training and information that we did with our kids in light of the event that took place. So we tried to calm them and try to make this a safe environment for them."

Sheldon also says the students barely notice the change.

"It's pretty much business as usual," said Sheldon. "We haven't seen any difference with kids going up and down the hallway. And you know it's very hard for kids to even see it."

And those who have, approve.

"Nothing but positive comments," said Illk. "Glad to see you're armed. Glad you're here to help keep us safe."

Illk must perform 20 hours of training a year to be an armed guard.