5 things to know about Ill. SRO Mark Dallas
Dallas is credited with stopping a shooting at Dixon High School in Illinois
By PoliceOne Staff
A 19-year-old suspect who was recently expelled from his school attempted to carry out a mass killing on Wednesday, only to be thwarted by the brave actions of a school resource officer on scene. The suspect opened fire near the gymnasium of Dixon High School in Illinois, where seniors were rehearsing for their upcoming graduation ceremony. Here are five things to know about SRO Mark Dallas, who took down the gunman and saved lives.
1. DALLAS BRAVED GUNFIRE TO STOP THE SHOOTER
After alerting authorities about the incident, Dallas ran toward the shots and spotted the gunman, who attempted to flee. When the SRO gave chase, the suspect fired several shots at him. Dallas, who was unharmed, returned fire and hit the suspect in the shoulder, then took him into custody. No students or faculty were hurt in the incident.
This isn’t the first story of an SRO’s heroic actions stopping a school shooting this year. In March, Maryland SRO Blaine Gaskill confronted a shooter who killed one student and wounded another, preventing further bloodshed.
Both of these incidents happened mere months after an SRO’s inactions during the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, drew nationwide criticism and sparked questions about the effectiveness of SRO programs.
2. THE SRO IS CREDITED FOR SAVING COUNTLESS LIVES
Dallas immediately received praise for his brave actions.
"A lot of things went right today when a great many of them could have gone wrong," Dixon Mayor Liandro Arellano Jr. told NBC 5.
Dixon Police Chief Steve Howell said Dallas’ quick actions saved lives.
"With shots ringing out through the hallways of the school, he charged towards the suspect and confronted him head on," Howell said. "Because of his heroic actions, countless lives were saved. We are forever indebted to him for his service and his bravery."
“Today, we should all be very thankful to school resource officer Mark Dallas for his bravery and quick action to immediately diffuse a dangerous situation at Dixon High School,” Governor Bruce Rauner said in a tweet.
3. DALLAS IS A FORMER K-9 HANDLER
According to the North American Police Work Dog Association, Dallas is a former Dixon PD K-9 handler.
It isn’t clear when Dallas joined Dixon High School as an SRO, but according to the city’s website, the SRO program was started in 2000. It was originally funded by the COPS federal grant to prevent school violence. The SROs in the Dixon PD’s program spend the majority of their workday at the school but are still full-time sworn officers. In addition to regular police duties, the SROs also help teach classes and counsel students.
4. STUDENTS AND FACULTY FOLLOWED THEIR ACTIVE SHOOTER TRAINING
In addition to Dallas’ quick response to the shooting, Howell praised students and faculty for their actions during the attack. At a press conference, he told reporters the school had recently held active shooter training drills, and students knew to barricade doors and take cover as a result of that training.
5. LEARN MORE
For more information about the roles of SROs and police response to active shooters in schools, check out the following articles. And if you want to learn more, PoliceOne Academy has a number of courses on active shooter training and school safety. You can schedule a free demo here.