The Chief shares some thoughts, of his department, on mass shootings.

This article is not so much a thought or information from my head, but more a collective of thoughts from the officers of the Sleepy Eye Police Department. We have been speaking together about the issue of mass shooting for some time, but unfortunately, again it has been refocused due to the tragedy at Stoneman Douglas High School.

Information on GunViolenceArchive.org shows that there have been 25 mass shooting in the U.S. so far this year. At the time of this writing, there’s been 58 days in the year. A little under a mass shooting every other day is alarming. Fourteen law enforcement officers have been killed this year by gunfire. These situations have become so regular that they are not news unless there is a large body count. I am sickened by these numbers and I will not lie, they scare me as a police officer, parent and citizen.

In speaking with the officers, we have some ideas regarding these issues. For us, we need to work locally. I am not a political person and I don’t feel I can save the United States. My goal is to protect the citizens of Sleepy Eye and Brown County. I have written a number of articles on ALICE, so I will not go into those details. I will say that we still work with the Brown County Sheriff’s Office and the New Ulm Police Department. We have also trained two additional instructors: Officer Shawn Bohnen and Officer David Gordon. ALICE is a response plan to a shooting to save lives. I do believe the more prepared a location is can help stop certain a certain type of mass shooter. It is not intended as a solution to stop these incidents, but save lives when the incidents occur.

The schools have added more security measures in recent years. Continuing to support them with what they need regarding keeping them safe is important. Door lock systems, cameras, trainings, etc. have helped make them safer and I know the schools will continue to explore options. I know many businesses that have also added security and are training to help keep the employees and customers safe.

Being open to discussions about changes to gun laws is significant. I know everyone has a strong opinion on this issue and I am not going to try to change anyone’s mind one way or another, but we need to be civil and listen to each other. I will apply a direct quote from one of the Sleepy Eye officers, so it is not me saying it again: “We need increased reporting of suspicious activity to the police department. Everyone gets that gut feeling when something is wrong. Please, call us. When we have information, we can do our job better. We will never not answer and we will never judge you for what you report.”

Thank you for reading this article. Let’s continue to work together to make a safer community and let’s continue to keep all those affected by this and any shooting in our thoughts and prayers.