It’s a thought still haunting the parents whose children were killed in the school shooting in Parkland, Florida: ‘What if’ the School Resource Officer did what he was trained to do and confronted the shooter? Could lives have been saved?
Of course, we’ll never know. David Belmondo asked some officers who train for these types of situations, ‘What do you do when confronted with a person bent on killing as many people as possible?’
Put yourself in the situation. Do you head inside and deal with the threat as soon as possible, or wait until backup arrives?
“You have to eliminate the threat,” says Erie County Sheriff John Loomis. When you’re faced with a situation like the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, you don’t wait. You face the threat immediately.
“I can’t answer to what someone else did,” says Loomis, “but, I would expect my deputies to follow their training and eliminate the threat.”
But, what do you do… go in or wait for other officers to arrive? Prior to the massacre at Columbine, protocol was to wait until back-up was there. But, while you wait, the killing continues. Now, there’s a new protocol. Loomis tells us, “Now, the best practice is: as soon as that active shooter situation goes down, that first officer, that first person with a weapon, goes in, confronts the individual, and stops the action.”
Former State Trooper Steve Oler is the School Resource Officer at Fort LeBoeuf. He says it’s his duty to protect the children and that means confronting a shooter right now. “You build a relationship with these kids. Like they say, they’re the sheep, you’re the sheepdog. Your job is to come in here and protect them at all costs and you realize when you have a job like this, you are there to stop the action.” Something that did not happen at Stoneman Douglas High School.
Oler says it takes a special kind of person to head in the direction of the bullets flying but added that’s what they train for and should be committed to get in there and take charge.