Sheriff’s office holds ‘active shooter’ training on campus

Last Wednesday every room in McDonald Hall was searched by a special force team from the Wood County Sheriff’s Office.

The search was part of the office’s active shooting training, in which the sheriff’s special response team trains for high risk situations.

The high risk situations the team is prepared to handle include hostage rescue, high risk search warrants, high risk arrest warrants, barricaded subjects, dignitary protection and active shooters, according to the Wood County Sheriff’s Special Response Team Web site.

“Our job is to go to where the problem is and address the situation,” said Sergeant Joe Appelhans, of the special response team.

According to Appelhans, the special response team has trained at a number of locations in Wood County in order to prepare for high risk situations.

“We take pre-SWAT measures in an attempt to organize a situation where there is massive chaos,” said Appelhans.

According to Appelhans, the special response team has been active for over eleven years now, training at all the high schools and many businesses in the county.

“It’s just a coincidence that [the training] took place right after the incident at Virginia Tech. We’ve been training at the University every year since we’ve been established,” said Applehans.

The active shooter response includes three or four members of the response team entering the building where the risk lies and going straight to where the problem is.

“Our job is to keep the body count down,” said Appelhans.

The training simulates a mission in which they must locate the shooter, checking for victims along the way. The team breaks down into small groups and their main task is to locate the rooms in which they hear gun shots.

Unlike other universities, BGSU uses the special response team as a pre-SWAT team measure. According to Appelhans, the teams get the call the same time as the Bowling Green Police Department.

The University of Toledo, on the other hand, calls in the Toledo Police Department’s SWAT initially and the sheriff’s high risk team is used as a back-up, according to the Toledo Police Department.

According to Appelhans, there was bad press associated with the Columbine High School shooting in 1999. The press attacked the police for waiting too long to take action and as a result more people were killed.

The special response team is trained not to let similar situations happen. Appelhans believes the Wood County Sheriff’s Department is more prepared than most to take on high risk situations.