Allen County Sheriff’s Department conducts active shooting drills to prepare for new school year

Allen County Sheriff’s Department officers spent the summer training to defend themselves against an active shooter at a school. During the month of July, they worked on active shooting exercises at Summit Middle School before the start of the new school year.

The department’s 141 officers participated along with many other county employees who carry firearms as part of their duties. Deputy Chief Troy Hershberger says mock rounds make drills as real as possible without firing real ammunition, “we’re actually firing a paraffin wax-type bullet, but it hurts when you get hit.”

Allen County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Troy Hershbeger with members of the Allen County Safety Commission.

All training is done in close communication with Allen County school officials who make up the Allen County Safety Commission. Southwest Allen County Schools Superintendent Park Ginder, Ph.D., says it’s important for officials to stay on the same page as law enforcement because it gives the community the trust that they are working together to keep children safe. Hershberger says communication is key. “We cannot do it alone. We do this with their cooperation.

East Allen County Schools District Safety Specialist Doug Goeglein says the training process is constantly evolving. “You learn as you go. Whenever you put policies in place, you think it’s the best policy for that day and hour, but like everything else in the world, when new things happen, changes are needed. You have to make adjustments. »

Parents have raised concerns after law enforcement’s response to a recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. In this situation, officers waited over an hour to engage the shooter. Hershberger says his department is trained to go for the active shooter. “It is their job, their function and their purpose to go to the problem to try to neutralize this problem as best they can and as tactically as possible. Not necessarily just to run into the storm so to speak, but to cope tactically to this threat and neutralize this threat.

Hershberger says tactics have changed over the years, “our responsibility is to go to the threat and neutralize the threat. If that means there’s only one officer, the first person here, that’s what they’ll have to do. Previously, we expected a tactical team, but this philosophy has changed due to certain events that have taken place over the years.

The 141 officers of the Allen County Sheriff’s Department participated in active fire drills over the summer at Summit Middle School ahead of the new school year.

Goeglein says school leaders try to keep parents informed as much as possible due to the secretive nature of the training tactics. “We try to convey to parents what we do without disclosing too much of what we do so that parents see that it is a priority for us.”

Hershberger says the most effective way to keep children safe is to work closely with the safety commission. “If we didn’t have this collaboration and this partnership between us, we wouldn’t be where we are today. I trust, and I hope they trust, that we provide the best service to our students in our community.

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