NIU shooter response aided by cops' medical training


By Steve Schmadeke
The Chicago Tribune

DEKALB, Ill. — The medical training provided to Northern Illinois University police officers likely saved lives, but police arriving from other departments did not always take direction, creating what could have been a dangerous situation after a gunman opened fire on campus two months ago, killing five, two NIU officers told a national conference Monday.

Lt. Darren Mitchell told how officers who entered a lecture hall moments after the shooting ended found the gunman, a former graduate student, dead on stage and some students, uninjured, still frozen in their seats. Mitchell and Lt. Todd Henert gave the closing address at a campus security conference hosted by the University of Central Oklahoma, which also Webcast their remarks.

"A lot of people thought our chief was out of his mind," Mitchell said of NIU Police Chief Donald Grady's proposal to train all officers as emergency medical technicians, which was adopted about five years ago. "We've since had numerous occasions where our officers . . . have engaged in lifesaving treatment in order to help people. [Feb. 14] turned out to be the pinnacle . . . of how helpful it was."

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