Putnam County law enforcement discuss unarmed responses to active shooters

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GREENCASTLE, Ind.-- Take a moment and ask yourself, would you know what to do if you were unarmed and encountered an active shooter? It's that question law enforcement in Putnam County is trying to help families think about and answer.

Wednesday night at Greencastle High School, the Putnam County Sheriff's Office and Indiana State Police hosted a community discussion on unarmed responses to active shooters, which they explained is not limited to firearms.

"Unfortunately throughout the nation this is occurring more and more and we want the public to be armed with information and education," Putnam County Sheriff Scott Stockton said.

Students, parents, law enforcement and community members filled the auditorium to hear the presentation from Dr. Richard Hogue, an expert in the area who works with Indiana State Police. He stressed prevention and preparation.

"Planning, thinking ahead of time, making decisions based upon facts instead of having to make them on emotion," Dr. Hogue said. "If you make decisions on emotion you many times make the wrong decision."

Hogue said their model expands run, hide fight to prevention, escape, lock down and fight, which can be fluid based on the situation.

"We always believe that prevention is better than response. So we actually have spent a lot of time studying 250 plus active shooter events and trying to put together a reasonable common sense list of indicators that people might be aware of when they go about their day or lives and that may help them identify individuals that are in need or are developing shooters," Hogue said.

Hogue said you should know your response options, mentally rehearse them and practice them. He explained pre-identifying escapes, weapons and rooms for lock down.

"We want you to run intelligently, we want you to be in a situation where you make the right choices, you take a secure path, a practiced path, you plan ahead of time and you do some very specific things as you escape," Hogue said. "Just don't run blindly, you escape."

What if you fight? We asked him that question as we walked through one of the hallways in the school as we discussed potential scenarios.

"Okay the only way that we would say let's use the fight option is if you can get into a position of advantage. You want to take the person by surprise, you want to preidentify weapons that you can utilize to defend yourself," Hogue said.

He also said you should set and know rules for a lock down ahead of time.

"Let's give you an example. You go in the room, you lock down the room, you have 25 kids packed in the room, you barricade the door, you got the door locked and you're secure, you're hearing hear weapons going off, then almost immediately you hear somebody beat on the door and it's somebody you've worked with for 20 years and they say let me in, let me in. You need to have those rules established ahead of time, so you make the right decisions. We don't tell you what the right decisions are." Hogue said.

For more information on the model, presentation and program, visit Indiana State Police here.

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