Tupelo company develops safety products for schools, businesses, homes

TAPCO's safety screens can repel bullets, explosives, knives and baseball bats

TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) – A North Mississippi company is developing a product to protect lives and property.

A local state senator believes the product could also help thwart potential attacks on schools.

Tapco Screens can repel a knife and a baseball bat.

The Tupelo company started making screens and storm windows in the 1960s.

But over the years, Tapco developed high-strength steel mesh screens for security and hurricane protection.

“We were building screens for HUD and we were doing a project in Pascagoula, a two-phase project, did the first phase, got them installed, and Katrina hit.  The maintenance guy called and said, your screens kept every window with a screen from being broken, and every window that didn’t have a screen on it, glass got broken,” said General Manager Don Roberts.

From there, the TAPCO team created a security screen to withstand Florida building codes, the toughest in the nation.

Roberts says the screens also provide protection from intruders to homes, businesses, and schools. The screens can be placed on the exterior and interior doors and windows.

District Six State Senator Chad McMahan recently led a tour at TAPCO, that included local school resource officers, and state economic, and business leaders.  McMahan said providing a safe environment for students on campus is a priority.

“It would be wonderful if we could come up with security measures that could be manufactured in Mississippi, to secure our schools, that will go to a bid process, it will be fair, but in my mind, it’s a win-win, if you can find local manufacturers and local contractors to equip, retrofit our schools with safety features,” said McMahan.

“We’d love for our screens to be used, but that’s mute, they need to put something up there to keep the shooter out of the classroom, once he gets into the building, he still has access to the classroom, through the glass, and it’s good to have them on the outside also,” said Roberts.

With crime on the rise from small towns to big cities, Roberts says TAPCO is getting even more inquiries about its products from dealers all across the nation.

The screens also protect from hail, and vandals and act as a sun deterrent.  About 30 employees work at the Tupelo location.

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