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Honolulu police chief takes a stand against arming teachers in schools

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Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard takes a stand against arming teachers in schools. 

"We've got kids who are young in schools, and if they're curious, what if they pick up that gun?" Ballard said. 

During her first school talk as Honolulu Police Chief, Ballard made it clear to 5th through 12th grade students at St. Francis School, the Honolulu Police Department is against arming teachers in schools. 

Students were able to ask questions as well.

"What would be some of the concerns law enforcement would have, when you enter a campus like ours, with armed teachers?" one student asked. 

"An officer needs to make a split second decision, do I shoot? or do I not shoot?" Ballard said. 

"If an armed officer responds to an incident and he has dressed people in civilian clothes, with firearms in hand, how does he know who's who? and that's what Chief Ballard's concern is and it's a very valid concern," Harvey Gerwig, Hawaii Rifle Association President said. 

Gerwig says he also disagrees with the National Rifle Association's push to arm teachers. 

"Rather than go out and arm all the teachers, which I think would be a very difficult task, I think arming special officers in the schools would be the direction to go," Gerwig said. 

The high school where the mass shooting took place in Florida also had a school resource officer on campus but that officer failed to confront the shooter. 

When asked how long it would take for HPD to respond to a similar situation, Ballard says it would take about two-minutes for the first officers to arrive on campus. 

But as Ballard addressed the issue of school safety, she also emphasized to students the importance of looking out for their peers. 

"None of our lives are perfect, they may look perfect from the outside, but when you take a look at the home life, maybe it's not," Ballard said. 

The chief says HPD can help facilitate school shooter drills and training upon request.

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