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Published: Friday, 8/23/2013 - Updated: 11 months ago

Perrysburg school bus drivers learn to disarm intruders

BY MATT THOMPSON
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Perrysburg school bus drivers were trained Thursday on how to disarm an intruder.

The event at the Perrysburg Schools bus garage had 32 of its contracted drivers and five substitutes in training put on by Perrysburg Township Police Deputy Chief Michael Gilmore. 

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Drivers were taught techniques for disarming a gunman, whether the driver is sitting or standing. Mr. Gilmore taught the drivers in November, mostly in a lecture.  The second phase showed the drivers how to react and what to do in these situations.

"We practice a lot of things," Mr. Gilmore said. "How to drive away from an armed suspect, how to react if they get on the bus, how to talk on the radio, and the fastest way to get out of a seat belt."

Ellen Moser, Perrysburg schools transportation supervisor, said each bus drivers disarmed a Township police officer who approached the bus with a fake gun.

Mr. Gilmore said the real-life drill made most of the drivers "emotional, nervous, and shaky," which is what he was looking for, to create a real-life atmosphere to remember later in case of an incident.

"They were happy to know how it feels to have your adrenaline going," Ms. Moser said. "It was eye opening."

Mr. Gilmore taught the drivers how to defend themselves even without a weapon. Ms. Moser said drivers used a pen to stab a watermelon, which he said was similar to a persons neck. 

The training also prepared them to explain over the bus radio exactly what is happening and to not hide anything in codes.

Ms. Moser was extremely happy with the training session.

"Every community says it would never happen to them, we are not immune to it," she said. "I've lived here my whole life and think I live in a safe community, but that's what they thought at Sandy Hook."

Contact Matt Thompson at: mthompson@theblade.com, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.



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