Local law enforcement wanted students to feel safe at school following the mass shooting at a high school in Parkdale, Florida.
That’s why the Cape Girardeau County Sheriff’s office sent deputies to 11 schools in the area Thursday to reassure kids that their school is a safe environment and that they are looking out for them.
Sergeant Cody Windbigler is a liaison for the sheriff’s office and regularly visits schools across Cape Girardeau County.
During his visits to five of the schools, Windbigler said the question that students asked him the most about the Florida shooting was why it had to happen.
In response, he told them that he doesn’t know why, and that it’s important for law enforcement and schools to figure out ways to make it so it doesn’t happen in the future.
“There are a lot of mitigating circumstances on why these shootings take place and law enforcement can confine that to several different things,” Windbigler said. “Whether it’s a mental illness. a bullying type of problem, or whatever it may be we have to get better at being able to identify that before instead of looking after and saying ‘oh it was obvious that this was the problem.’”
Windbigler said that there have been 300 reported school shootings in the US since 2013 and that nine of those have happened in Missouri.
The deputy also told students that shootings are a national crisis so there is still a very small percentage chance of an active shooter incident happening at any one place.
“However that doesn’t mean we don’t something about that one to three percent chance,” Windbigler said. “Florida for instance, they’re the same part of that statistic as us, and I imagine if you would try to give them that statistic they would have something different to say about it.”
Windbigler also coordinates public training for active shooter situations at businesses, churches, and schools, and said that the Cape County Sheriff’s office does about three training’s a month.
“For this small area is pretty significant I would think,” he said. “It hurts in the heart to think mass shootings are still happening and that we as a people haven’t been effective enough to figure out a solution for it. What we can do, at least in law enforcement is try to mitigate those issues when they do happen, and help make those schools safer.”
That’s why Windbigler is an advocate for more places organizations to get active shooter training and learn the valuable lessons it has to offer.
“Your body is going to do one to two things. It’s either going to fight or flight or in the case of active shooting, we’ve seen over and over that people just tend to freeze,” Windbigler said. “If we can get them out of that frozen mode, and train them how to react better out of those circumstances then we can dramatically decrease the amount of lives that are lost during these tragedies.”
To schedule an active shooter training, call the Cape Girardeau County Sheriff’s Office at 573-243-3551.
By Nathan Ellgren | KFVS 12