Central Michigan law enforcement agencies say they are prepared for school shootings after the recent tragedy at Oxford High School in Oakland County claimed four students’ lives.
Capt. Andy Daenzer of the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office told WILX 10 that officers are trained to deal specifically with school shootings.
“We do train regionally with other agencies in how to respond to these. Basically it’s trying to get to these things as quickly as you can,” Daenzer said.
But law enforcement can only do so much in many cases. It’s also up to the school and students to proactively protect themselves. Eaton Rapids superintendent Bill DeFrance said that school shootings like the one in Oxford are his worst nightmare.
“You always pray and hope that it doesn’t happen anywhere near where you are, but this is pretty close to home,” DeFrance said.
DeFrance added that the incident in Oxford made him reflect on how he can better protect his own district.
“I think this just gives us a little bit more impetus to pay attention and heighten our awareness of those things. Because, it’s tragic but it hits close to home,” DeFrance said.
According to the New York Times, Oxford High School staff and students followed their training from an active shooting drill called A.L.I.C.E. (alert, lockdown, inform, counter, and evacuate). They also used door barricade gadgets called Nightlock. But despite their best efforts, there were still high casualties.
Former NFL player and kicker for Michigan State University Dave Rayner said that one of the students killed and another injured were on the football team he used to coach. He took the school year off to focus on his new-born child.
Rayner joined the team to support them in the aftermath of the shooting, and said that the students were clearly very traumatized.
“There were literally kids that bullets were flying by them in the hallways. One of our guys is a teacher and he said, ‘You know all of the preparations for it, but when it’s happening, you’re trying to figure out if it’s real.’ A couple of kids said they ran up and told teachers there was somebody shooting and the teachers didn’t really believe it right away until they heard the gunshots,” Rayner explained.
Oakland County authorities said the lockdown protocols at Oxford High School were executed perfectly by students, staff, and police, but it was still not enough.
“The response was executed perfectly, yet four children were killed and multiple injuries occurred,” Oakland County prosecutor Karen D. McDonald said. “We really can’t train ourselves out of this tragedy.”