Letter to the Editor

Safety training is critical

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

In regard to the recent school shooting in Florida, I have a question for the Missouri Highway Patrol, Cape Girardeau County Sheriff Department, Jackson Police Departant, and Cape Girardeau Police Departant.

In the Florida active shooter event, it appears that the school resource officer and responding deputies took up defensive positions behind walls, cars, etc. upon arrival, and did not enter the school. This behavior appears to fly in the face of what was learned after the Columbine shooting, which was that law enforcement was to enter building upon arrival to confront an active shooter.

My question is, do our local law enforcement agencies above have official policies on how to respond to a similar event in our area? How often are officers trained on such a situation? Fear can be a powerful agent. Do our officers know exactly what is expected of them? While there are no guarantees, a quick response by a trained, armed officer could save many lives. We have fine law enforcement in our area, but policies and training matter.

Considering that the shootings now occur in small town schools, churches, etc., there is no question that we could easily be the next area with the news trucks parked outside one of our schools. If our local policies are that the school resource officer or responding officers are to wait for backup, is that a functional policy for use in our schools? Should it be changed?