Business leaders meet to learn about workplace violence

 Businesses across Michiana prepare for the worst as the Elkhart Chamber of Commerce held a workshop. The goal was to train business leaders how to react in the case that a shooter enters their workplace.

On Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. the Matterhorn Conference Center in Elkhart was buzzing with 172 people. They all showed up to learn how to deal with a crisis that has become all too common across this country.

“Active shooter is a very specific risk that we all face whether we are in the work force or we are out in society. I think the most important thing for folks to understand is that in order to respond to this you have to have good situational awareness,” says Andy Barker.

Barker is a former Indiana State Trooper who now works as a risk adviser. He spoke to people from a wide variety of industries; on how to decide whether you should run, hide, or fight when facing an active shooter.

“Basically everybody in the work force needs to understand that an active shooter is violent and ever evolving. So you can't give them one thing and that's going to work for them like a fire drill,” says Barker.

Barker explains there is no cookie cutter solution to facing an active shooting. He says that if you practice being aware and alert while doing everyday tasks, like walking to your car or just walking down the street, then you will get in the habit of being aware of suspicious activity.

“I attended this event today because you just never know when it's going to happen. I work in a dental office and we see lots of people come in everyday that we don't even know,” says Jenny Watkins, a Dentist at Bruce D Watkins Dental.

Watkins adds that this topic of active shooter is fresh in her mind from 2014; when a shooter took the lives of two at local Martin's Grocery Store.

This tragedy is something Tyler Wallin a facility manager at Concord Mall says is even more of a reason for local businesses to get prepared.

“I mean it hits close to home obviously, just something you need to be aware of. It's unfortunate but that's the world that we live in,” says Wallin. 
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