Michigan Police Train for School Emergencies

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Police in Ingham, Eaton and Clinton counties intensely prepare for worse-case scenarios.

"Time is of the essence and if you look at all the studies of all these horrific incidents, the faster the police get there, the faster they go attack the problem, the less amount of people that are going to get hurt," said Joel Maatman, a Major with the Ingham County Sheriff's Office. "It's probably every police officer's worst dream. I mean we see a lot of violent things in our world, but to see something like this occur and see young kids hurt, or deceased--It's a shock wave."

When tragedy strikes, multiple police agencies respond. Several Mid-Michigan agencies train together so that they are all on the same page to ensure a fast response if it was ever needed.

"It is very disheartening. Our hearts and prayers should go out to the families of those individuals that are victims out there. But it shows that this stuff can happen any place any time and we need to be prepared for it," said Maatman.

Officers in the tri-county area receive formal training about once every two years, but some departments give additional training each year. Teachers and school administrators also receive training.

"The least amount of injuries are going to occur for those that are planned and are ready, and that practice---from law enforcement response to the school response to what might occur," said Maatman.

Local police departments have received several grants to pay for the training of officers. Some of the most recent training happened in June of this year.

In January of 2011, after teachers and officers had just received training on school safety, a Dansville middle school student brought a gun to school. Maatman says it is because of the training that no one was hurt.

"Dansville had it happen to them, and the superintendent there had it nailed," said Maatman. "She had her teachers, her school administrators [well trained], and it truly prevented them from being on national news."

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