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Peru Police train for the worst

prepare: Officers from the Peru Police Department and Peru Community Schools take part in an active shooter training with Indiana State Excise Police on June 28.

BY JARED KEEVER - jkeever@perutribune.com

Members of the Peru Police Department and school resource officers with Peru Community Schools had an opportunity last week to train for something they hope never happens here.

On June 28, they met at Peru High School with officers from the Indiana State Excise Police for an active shooter training.

“We truly feel in today’s society this training was extremely important,” Police Chief Michael Meeks said in a social media post about the training. “We always hope it will never come to our community. But if we have an active shooter call, we want our officers to be prepared to actively engage in the situation to prevent anyone from being injured.”

The post noted that FBI statistics indicate 27 active shooter incidents in 16 states during 2018.

Meeks told the Tribune on Wednesday that the training is something that he has been hoping to bring to the community for a couple of years.

“It’s something that we’ve talked about over and over,” he said. “We feel it’s an extremely important training.”

Meeks said that while it is, of course, important to train for these incidents in schools, the training they went through last month addressed active shootings in any setting including government buildings and workplaces.

“We feel like it could happen anywhere,” he said.

And just as the setting can vary, so too can the circumstances.

That was one of the main takeaways, he said. Officers need to know, for instance, that a shooter may commit suicide during the incident but may also simply surrender or barricade himself or herself in a portion of a building.

“We just learned that there is no blueprint for how these take place,” Meeks said.

Another lesson was that officers who arrive on scene, particularly those that are there first, have to think and act fast in the hopes of saving as many lives as possible.

“I think the main thing is … that you don’t wait,” he said.