State trooper helps Amish schools fend off active shooters - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

State trooper helps Amish schools fend off active shooters

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Indiana State Police Master Trooper Brooks Shirk Indiana State Police Master Trooper Brooks Shirk
NAPPANEE - Indiana State Police Master Trooper Brooks Shirk patrols Kosciusko and Elkhart Counties. While mapping locations of Amish schools, one thought began to manifest in his mind...

"No school is really exempt from what could happen," said Shirk.

Tragically, that haunting expression proved true eight years ago. An active shooter killed five young girls in a Pennsylvania Amish school house.

Shirk says public schools have several layers of protection to ward off active shooters. Things like ID-activated school doors, metal detectors, security cameras, and bullet-proof locks on classroom doors have become as commonplace as a yellow school bus.

"A lot of the Amish schools just didn't have that," said Shirk. He says most Amish schools in Elkhart County bear a striking resemblance to the Pennsylvania schoolhouse. Most are one-room buildings with about 30 students each.

So he did something about it.

"Run, hide and fight!" said Shirk. That's the state police active shooter philosophy. Shirk says the Amish community eagerly embraced it.

He says more than 100 Amish teachers and administrators attended a recent two-hour training session, representing more than 60 schools.

"You don't want to live your life paranoid," said Shirk. "But it doesn't hurt to, you know, be prepared."

No school, public or otherwise, can ever comprehensively prevent an active shooter situation. But thanks to one state trooper, schools that sacrifice modern technology, don't have to sacrifice modern safety measures.

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