Monday, November 18, 2013

OH:Shelby Co. Sheriff's program arms Sidney teachers; Local police chief "not a fan"

The Sidney Daily News is reporting that Sidney police chief Will Balling is not a fan of Sidney school staff carrying firearms. There is obvious tension and the issue of guns in schools remains a polarizing topic. Misinformation continues to cloud the discussion.
From the article:
Balling said he is worried because there is a 70 percent chance that a teacher would miss their target if they were firing in an active shooter situation.
The chief said if one of his officers arrived on the scene and there was a teacher standing there with a gun, and they do not know it is a teacher, he feels they should "shoot the teacher." He would expect his officers to view the teacher as "a bad guy" in a situation of uncertainty.
"We can have up to 10 officers there in two minutes," Balling said, but he worries about "four or five others" walking around the school with guns. He said it's possible a teacher could also shoot an officer.
I had a hard time believing that anyone, let alone a police chief, feels like a law enforcement responder "should 'shoot the teacher.'" I contacted the Daily News to question the reporting. The paper said, "If he hadn't said it, we wouldn't have reported that he did. We even questioned him about it to make sure he meant it the way we heard it."

I then called Chief Balling to discuss the issue with him. He claims he was misquoted, that he said his officers "could shoot the teacher." Certainly that is a possibility. Or the police could shoot the killer and save the teacher. Or the teacher could shoot the killer and save the cop, or save the 20 kids before the cop shows up two minutes too late.

The tone of the story presents a confrontational situation between the Chief Balling and school Superintendent John Scheu. After talking with both men, the paper is accurate in this regard, though both men were very professional and non-controversial with me. There are obvious differences between Balling and Scheu. It does not matter the reason for their disagreement, airing differences regarding school safety in a public setting is not a good idea.

I talked to City Manager, Mark Cundiff about why there was even a discussion about school safety at the city council meetings. Cundiff said that department heads were making their presentations on the proposed 2014 budget. When he was done with his presentation, a council member asked Balling about discussions with superintendent and the schools regarding school policy on firearms. The chief responded that discussions were tense and the media took it from there.

Chief Balling told me he is not opposed to armed persons in schools, "but wants it done safely." He feels that Scheu and the BOE rushed to their decision without proper training or policy in place.

More Here at

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