Noblesville school shooting first responders teach lessons learned from that day

NOBLESVILLE, Ind.- Six months after the shooting at Noblesville West Middle School, the key public safety players from that day are coming together to share the lessons they learned to help keep other communities safe.

On Tuesday, during a conference of the Indiana Association of County Commissioners, Hamilton County public safety officials laid out their response from the shooting and what they’ve learned since. Their takeaway from this conference was simple: have a plan.

“I think it’s critical because the world we live in today is becoming more and more scary and as executives of the county, we have to take this seriously,” said Knox County Commissioner Kellie Streeter, who was attending the conference.

She said the lessons learned at Tuesday’s presentation are invaluable.

“To come see how others have responded, have handled the planning, the training, the exercising, the coordination for continuity of county government, it’s absolutely priceless,” said Streeter.

The two victims, teacher Jason Seaman and student Ella Whistler both survived. The 13-year-old student who shot them now sits in a juvenile detention center and the scars from that day are being used to educate others.

Officials at the conference said other counties need to make sure all their responding agencies know how to work together; something they say was an asset for their response in Noblesville.

“We can plan and plan but it’s really important to take a look at some of those past lessons learned from other organizations and what they’ve done, and then help incorporate those lessons into your plan,” said Hamilton County Executive Direction of Emergency Management  Shane Booker.

Officials told their counterparts at the conference to have a plan in place so teachers and students are sure of what to do in an emergency.

“So our biggest bullet point today is that it’s important that everybody is on the same page,” said Hamilton County Sheriff Mark Bowen, “the communications, cooperation and training is of the utmost importance.”

Bowen admits one the biggest assets that day was teacher Seaman, whose training kicked in to stop the shooter. That has been just one part of the county’s after-action report and it’s knowledge which they hope to impart on all at the conference.

“We look at what went well and we look at what we could do better and we obviously try to improve on that as much as we can,” said Bowen.

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