Topeka (KSNT) –
You hear about schools having tornado and fire drills, but one preparation police say is also a necessity, is training students and teachers how to react to an active shooter on campus.
“We actually went around the school during the staff in-service, with a weapon with blanks in it so that they (teachers) could actually hear what a gun would sound like in the hallway,” says Chief of Police with the Topeka Public Schools, Ron Brown.
It’s part of the training Topeka Public Schools do to prepare for active shooter situations.
Law enforcement isn’t in a teacher’s job description, but if a gunman were to come on campus, educators are the ones who would need to step in.
“The teachers- they’re going to be the ones dealing with the situation immediately. As I often tell them, the Calvary’s coming, but it take a few minutes for the Calvary to get there. You don’t have to stop the shooter, you just have to slow them down,” says Brown.
But slowing down a gunman takes training.
Which is where Officer Travis Jepson comes in.
“We train officers how to deal with these types of incidences, and hopefully mitigate the casualties and the dangers and the risks involved as well,” says Jepson, a Range Master with the Topeka Police Department.
He also trains teachers with a three part plan: Run. Hide. Fight.
While law enforcement is trained to run toward the threat, teachers are taught to get their students as far away as they can.
“We need to train. And we need to train often,” says Jepson.
It’s necessary training schools hope they never have to use.
“It’s going to be very chaotic, very emotional, and so the better we can be prepared to deal with that, it’s going to help all of us,” says Brown.
The Topeka School District is preparing for another active shooter training session next week. The district has identified 42-million dollars to use on school safety equipment and programs. They’re also adding more law enforcement officers to work in the schools.
If you’re interested in preparedness training for your school, business, or organization, both the Topeka Police Department and the Kansas Highway Patrol do training sessions.