Stephenson County Health Dept. holds Workplace Violence summit

Local News

FREEPORT, Ill. (WTVO) — More businesses are planning for deadly shootings in the wake of yesterday’s deadly mass killing at Milwaukee’s MillerCoors headquarters.

A gun violence research group has found there have been more than 2,000 mass shootings in the U.S. since 2013.

Rick McDonough is the emergency response coordinator for the Stephenson County Health Department. He says recent shootings continue to highlight the need for everyone to be prepared.

“It happens. It doesn’t make any difference where you’re at. It can happen anywhere,” McDonough said.

McDonough helped organize a Workplace Violence presentation at Highland Community College on Thursday, which had been planned well in advance of Wednesday’s violence.

“It’s amazing, the way attendance to these increases when there’s been something similar in the news within the week before the class,” he said.

Stephenson County Sheriff’s Department Sergeant Bob Sutter offered tips to those in attendance about what to do in an “active shooter” situation.

“We do have emergency plans, but we don’t have an intruder plan,” said Byron Bullock, who has worked for the Northwest Illinois Community Action Agency in Freeport for the last 17 years.

He says he will take information learned at the class back to his co-workers. “Sometimes, we can deal with some disgruntled people and it’s just good to have the training to know what to do in situations that could potentially arise,” he said.

McDonough says businesses, churches and organizations should have an emergency plan in place, and he hopes more groups will take advantage of the training his outfit offers.

“They’re, for the most part, pretty complacent in what they do on a day-to-day basis,” he said of his attendees.

Bullock says he’s considering scheduling a session at his workplace.

“I think the rest of the staff would be greatly benefited by some training of this type,” he said.

The Stephenson County Health Department will host another workshop at Highland on March 11th, which will focus on what people can do until help arrives during an emergency situation.

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