TN Valley law enforcement agencies receive equipment to enhance school safety

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AEGIS Law Enforcement Foundation donated 34 kits on Thursday that included a halligan (a pry bar) a maul (sledgehammer/axe combination) and bolt/chain cutter.

A law enforcement foundation is providing equipment to Tennessee Valley law enforcement agencies to enhance school safety and respond to emergencies faster.

They can be used from hundreds of scenarios ranging from an intruder in a building to an active shooter situation. It can also help with car crashes and natural disasters.

“It’s more important for patrol officers to have it readily available with them out on the street because they’re the first ones to get there,” Chief Mike Williams with the Signal Mountain Police Department said.

Chief Williams helped push for officers to have the tools. The AEGIS Law Enforcement Foundation used reserve funds to buy 34 kits worth $15,000 or $450 apiece.

“In some of the active shooter incidents around the country, they’ve tried to chain doors together,” Chief Williams said.

A chain cutter could have been used in that situation to get into a building faster.

Law enforcement leaders also referenced the Apison tornadoes that trapped people in their homes. A toolkit would have helped with rescue efforts.

“It’s not even about time as much as lives. This can save lives,” Capt. Mark King with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office said.

Capt. King said that kind of equipment is usually for SWAT teams or firefighters. Now, it’ll be in patrol cruisers to help officers respond to emergencies.

“It’s the workers in a business that might be a six story building. It could be the teachers in a 500 student school,” Capt. King said.
Officers already know how to use the 27.5 lb backpack because of a recent training session.

“I think that’s just another example that they can be assured knowing we’re doing everything we can to protect them no matter how egregious the situation is,” Chief Williams said.

The law enforcement foundation wants to provide 16 more of these kits to officers. They’re looking to the community to fill that gap.

Those 34 kits were spread out across multiple agencies including the Chattanooga Police Department, Collegedale Police Department, East Ridge Police Department, Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, Lookout Mountain Police Department, Red Bank Police Department, Signal Mountain Police Department, Soddy Daisy Police Department, Walker County Sheriff’s Office and Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office.