Porter County Sheriff's Department

What's Happening at The Porter County Sheriff's Department


'Active Shooter' Training

Jon L. Hendricks | The Times

Porter County Sheriff's Officer Tim Manteuffel, center, keeps an eye on the active shooting training Friday by Valparaiso Police Officer Joe Hall, left, and Porter County Sheriff's Officer Larry Sheets, right, at Wheeler High School. Officers from throughout Porter County converged on an empty Wheeler High School to train in various large building scenarios.


Police undergo 'active shooter' training

Four departments prepare for workplace, school violence situations

Police undergo 'active shooter' training

By Ken Kosky NWI Times | Posted: Saturday, February 13, 2010 12:05 am


UNION TOWNSHIP | Porter County Sheriff's Cpl. Jeremy Chavez followed the sounds of gunshots Friday morning at Wheeler High School, and finally came face to face with a bad guy who had a gun in one hand and a detonator for an explosive device in the other hand.

"We had to shoot him," Chavez said.

The encounter wasn't real -- but a training scenario designed to prepare local officers in case a shooting occurs at a workplace, school or other location.

Chavez -- one of 100 officers from Valparaiso, Hebron, Kouts and the Porter County authorities who underwent "active shooter" training Friday or who will undergo the training Monday at the school -- called the training beneficial.

"You learn you have to be mentally prepared," Chavez said. "If you haven't already thought about it, you're going to fail."

Each officer is doing four hours of training, including critiques designed to correct any mistakes. Most have had previous training in active shooting scenarios, but for many it was their first at a large facility.

Porter County Chief Deputy Doug Snider said police are fortunate Wheeler High School allowed the use of its facility during its Presidents Day break. He said the goal of the training is to get officers from multiple jurisdictions to work together and use the proper techniques of cover, concealment.

But most importantly, they are learning that if the perpetrators are still harming people when the first police unit arrives, he must go straight to the threat and neutralize it, Snider said.

"You can't wait. You've got to go seek it out and stop the violence," he said.

Snider said the Columbine school shooting in 1999 taught law enforcement that they needed to move away from the old policy of waiting for SWAT units to arrive before taking on perpetrators of mass violence. He said lives can be lost if entry is delayed.

Snider said he's pleased with how officers are performing during the training.

"People are responding well and finding the problem, and not stopping and waiting," he said.


Jon L. Hendricks | The Times

Porter County Sheriff's Officer Rollie Sanders points his shotgun down a hallway Friday at Wheeler High School during an active shooter training session. Wheeler High School did not have school Friday and officers from throughout Porter County were able to use the building for training.

Jon L. Hendricks | The Times

Porter County Sheriff's Officer Larry Sheets raises his shotgun to clear a room of any suspects during incident training Friday in an empty Wheeler High School. Dozens of officers from Porter County departments participated in training in the building while responding quickly to different kinds of incidents.

Jon L. Hendricks | The Times

Porter County Sheriff's Officer Jesse Klemz, center, rushes through a doorway Friday while explaining how to circumvent the obstacle to other officers gathered for training in an empty Wheeler High School.

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