DELAWARE, OH - On the weekend of March 2 and 3, both Buckeye Firearms Foundation President Jim Irvine and Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman Chad Baus attended an "Active Killer in Schools" training course in the Williams Co., OH community of Edgerton.
The training was conducted by the Tactical Defense Institute (TDI), a world-renowned training facility based in Adams Co., OH that is owned and operated by former SWAT Team commander John Benner.
There were more than 70 people in the 16 hour class, and Baus estimates more than half were school employees.
While TDI has been conducting active killer classes for quite some time, the focus has primarily been on the instruction of law enforcement. Benner said this class was the first which combined a large number of school employees and educators along with area law enforcement officers.
According to Dr. Jamison Grime, superintendent of the Montpelier, OH school district that made international news when they became the first Ohio school to publicly announce plans to arm some employees, every district in Williams County received an invitation to attend the training.
"While I don't have the entire roster, I can report that at least six school districts had representatives who took the training," Baus said. "At least two Williams Co. law enforcement agencies, Edgerton and Edon, sent officers to take the training. Montpelier's former police chief, who recently retired, was also in attendance."
Irvine added, "Four of the six schools who had employees in the training are fortunate to have Boards of Education which have, according to published reports, already authorized, or announced intent to authorize, some level of armed response inside the school, including Edgerton, Hilltop, Montpelier and Stryker."
Benner began the training early Saturday morning with a three hour seminar which included a history and statistical analysis of the growing active killer problem, as well as mindset training and options for both armed and unarmed response to such an event.
The seminar also addressed several options for response for people who are unarmed, and approximately 10 people identified themselves as people who were solely seeking unarmed response training
On Saturday afternoon, attendees transitioned to different parts of the building, and began training on the skills needed to round corners, navigate hallways filled with panicked students and/or victims, navigate stairwells (if applicable), and to perform room entry/clearance. Attendees also learned how to practice these techniques with a partner.
On the second day, scenario-based force-on-force training was conducted utilizing airsoft pistols, giving school employees and law enforcement the opportunity to put their new skills to use in various simulated active killer situations.
"Since this was Benner's first Active Killer class comprised of so many school employees, in many instances it was clear that the instructors were learning as much as the students," Baus observed. "Many ideas were discussed, including strategically positioning teachers' desks, what an armed teacher should do if s/he is in the classroom with students but hears shooting down the hall and more."
"Seeing how seamlessly armed school employees and law enforcement could work together was also very instructive," Irvine noted. "If your local law enforcement agencies are not working with your local school districts on this type of training, ask them why."
Edgerton Chief of Police Jeremy Jones said he believes the training was a "huge success."
"I have heard nothing but praises for the training and the TDI staff instructing," said Jones. "One very important point that was made this weekend and truly opened many eyes of the students was how important it is to have an armed response already in place within the school. During the scenario-based training, it became very obvious to all students how a killer can inflict death or serious injury to an entire classroom in a very short period of time. Waiting for law enforcement to respond to the scene and neutralize the threat is not a viable option."
The lessons learned from last weekend's training will be put to good use as the expert instructors at TDI work to prepare for Buckeye Firearms Foundation's Armed Teacher Training Program (ATTP) course that will be held over three days this spring.
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For more information, please visit www.BuckeyeFirearms.org.