All emergency responders around the area, including firefighters, Indiana State Police and others took part in “active shooter” training. The drills were led by Marshall County Sheriff’s officer Ryan Hollopeter.
Officers assembled at the school for two sessions on each of the two days. Communication and cooperation between agencies was a focus of the drills. It offered several training opportunities that emergency personnel rarely get.
“The fact that we can train in an actual school building is just great,” said Hollopeter. “It’s very rare when we get an opportunity to use a real school to run through this training and it makes a big difference. It’s just very hard for schools to find a period of two days when they can make the building secure and available to us. That’s why we started looking at the summer time for these sessions.”
It also gives an opportunity for varied emergency personnel to work together.
“It’s also not very often that all the separate departments get to work together,” said Hollopeter. “This gives us a chance to work together with all the different departments and coordinate how we’d handle situations, communications, all the aspects of this kind of situation.”
Officers responding to any such situation have one goal.
“Find the bad guy,” said Hollopeter. “That is the first and foremost goal. In this type of situation and that can be very tough. It’s very difficult for officers to pass by victims and continue to find the shooter but you have to do that. Some of the responders may be fathers and have children in the school. They have to stay focused and find and stop that shooter to prevent further victims. That’s the goal – find the bad guy and stop him.”
“Experience shows that most times this situation is going to end in suicide or death of the shooter,” said Hollopeter. “We don’t have a question of who did it we have the question of why they did it. We start with the end of the story and have to find out the rest of it.”