Reporting threats and suspicious behavior can prevent school shootings, according to experts and law enforcement
COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
In the wake of the recent shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville on Monday, advocacy groups and local law enforcement are stressing the importance of reporting behavior sooner than later.
CNN reported Monday's shooting was the 19th school shooting of the year.
"The first, and best, line of defense is a well-trained, highly alert staff and student body," said Kenneth Trump, who is the president of National School Safety and Security Services. "We want to stress training school people with situational awareness, being aware and mindful of your surroundings at all times. Recognizing abnormalities and patterns that you're familiar with day to day, and most importantly, being able to make cognitive decisions quickly under stress."
Trump went on to say that sometimes people don't report something suspicious for fear of being wrong.
However, he mentioned it's better to be wrong and keep people safe than to not report it and regret it later on.
The Boone County Sheriff's Office spokesman Capt. Brian Leer also gave advice regarding keeping students safe.
"Training law enforcement personnel to respond to active threats, which includes active shooters, is vital," Leer said. "The Boone County Sheriff’s Office takes this need seriously."
"We not only train our personnel on tactics for responding to active threats, but we train law enforcement from other agencies on such as well," said Leer.
Leer's advice included reporting suspicious activity, paying attention to warning signs, and trusting your instincts.
"If you see, hear, or know of something suspicious, REPORT IT," Leer said. "Always pay attention to behaviors, statements and warning signs. Trust your instincts. If something seems suspicious or out of the ordinary, say something."
Missouri State Highway Patrol's program Courage2Report allows people to anonymously report tips regarding possible school shootings.
"We encourage citizens to utilize the program, even if they’re not 100% sure of the accuracy of the information," MSHP spokesman Cpl. Kyle Green said. "We would prefer investigating the report of information and it turned out to be false than to not have the information at all and then it becomes something tragic that could have been avoided."
To report a threat you can visit Courage2Report's website, or to leave an anonymous tip, you can call 1-866-748-7047. The hotline is 24/7, and all callers are kept anonymous. Tips are shared with local law enforcement and schools as the proper course of action is decided.
Green also spoke on swatting and making hoax calls regarding school shootings. Green stated that law enforcement always takes these calls seriously and making a hoax call wastes resources.