Twenty-seven school shootings have happened across the U.S. this year alone, according to Education Week.
The latest shooting happened last week in Texas, where 19 children and two adults were killed.
In North Dakota, some towns are so small they don’t even have their own police departments, or they’re just small, to say the least.
For instance, in Berthold, where there’s less than 500 people, there’s only one full-time officer — and he’s the chief.
“It’s just myself and I have a part-time guy also,” said Chief Al Schmidt.
Schmidt says while he hasn’t responded to active shooter calls, he wants to be prepared if he ever does.
“Our protocol is we respond immediately,” said Schmidt. “We don’t wait for backup. And more than likely, it’ll just be myself. And I’ll enter the building, hopefully, the school is following all the protocols. And I’ll go towards the gunfire and try to stop and neutralize the threat.”
In Minot, where there’s almost 50,000 people, there are more than 15 schools covered by about 75 officers.
The Minot Police Department also has its own protocol if there ever is an active shooter or threat.
“We send everybody that we can immediately,” said Administrative Capt. Jason Sundbakken. “First officer on the scene makes an assessment. If he doesn’t currently or actively hear that threat occurring, we wait for a small team, which is two to four people, which could take no more than 5 minutes.”
Sundbakken also says yearly trainings are done with the staff at Minot Public Schools to work through what to do if anything were to happen.
“If you’ve been involved in some type of training on whatever level, obviously you’re gonna have kind of a predetermined course of action that you’re planning to take or you will take when something like that happens rather than just having to figure all of that out as it comes along,” said Sundbakken.
Schmidt agreed, saying after a school shooting years ago he found a tool that helps make classrooms safer by blocking the door.
“All they have to do is spin this,” said Schmidt. “It takes just a matter of 10 seconds maybe. And it’s wedged up like that. And then this door cannot be opened no matter how hard they push on it.”
But, he adds, it’s still the officer’s job to be there for the school as well as the entire community.
“There’s times in law enforcement’s career where you’re not always gonna be safe,” said Schmidt. “You have to put yourself in harm’s way for the good of the public. What you raise your right arm and take an oath to do.”
In North Dakota, there was a disturbance in April at Mott-Regent Public School.
Thirty-four-year-old Jeffrie Ray Glover Jr. refused orders to leave the school and fought with a Hettinger County Sheriff’s deputy, according to authorities.
The deputy then shot and killed him inside the school.