Officer presents advice for active shooter scenario

By CHRISTINE STEPHENSON
cstephenson@dcherald.com

JASPER — In an active shooter situation, the most common advice is to run, hide or fight. Sgt. David Henderson, public information officer for the Indiana State Police Jasper Post, stressed how important committing to one of the three methods is during a Wednesday presentation.

Henderson hosted an active shooter seminar over Zoom through the Jasper Chamber of Commerce. Chamber Director Nancy Eckerle said that although a mass shooting in Dubois County may seem unlikely, it’s important to be prepared.

“We always think it won’t happen in our own neighborhood or in our own community, but these things do happen,” she said. “Just ask the communities where active shooter incidents have happened before.”

Just over a month ago, eight people were killed in a shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis. A few years ago, a school shooting in Noblesville left a teacher and student injured. There have been 230 mass shootings in the United States just this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit that tracks gun violence incidents across the country.

Henderson said it is important for schools, businesses and organizations such as churches to have a plan in place in the event of an active shooter. This includes identifying exits, having medical kits available and planning a meetup location for those who can escape the building. A good meetup place is well-known and easy to reach but far enough away from the building, he said.

If one is exiting the building, it’s important to worry about getting somewhere safe before stopping to help someone who is injured, Henderson said.

“It’s just horrific to think that me as a police officer, me as a dad, would go into a school or business and see someone there hurting and just have to step over them, but that’s the reality we’re in today,” he said. “We have to eliminate the threat first.”

If exiting the building isn’t possible, the next best option is typically to hide. Whether this means ducking under a desk or just turning off the lights, locking the door and crouching in a corner, it’s important to stay still until it’s safe. It’s also important to silence cellphones, so the shooter cannot hear if they go off.

Choosing to engage with an active shooter or attacker is a personal choice, Henderson said, but if one chooses to fight, it’s vital to commit to it.

“You don’t have to have a gun or a knife, you can use a chair or a baseball bat or something,” he said. “But if you’re going to engage, you have to be all in. No matter what you choose to do, you have to be all in."

Dubois County has a heavy police presence, Henderson said, so if 911 is called, officers will arrive at the location within minutes, along with the fire department and EMS.

All troopers at the Jasper Post have to-go bags in their trunks, so even if they are off-duty, they are equipped with a bulletproof vest, a variety of weapons and ammunition, tags to mark buildings to show they have been searched by the police and medical kits.

Those interested in having Henderson present information about active shooter scenarios to their school, business or organization, or those who want to partner with ISP to create an active shooter plan, can contact Henderson at dhenderson@isp.in.gov.




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