SIDNEY — Another day and another workplace shooting.
Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart shared his concerns about workplace shootings during his weekly interview.
“In 2017,” said Lenhart, “workplace violence resulted in 458 people being killed. Another 18,000-plus people were injured.
“Last week in Virginia, 12 people and a large number of people were injured,” he said. “The thing that worries me the most is that we’re not being vigilant enough at the workplace. If you know a person who you work with who has shown violent tendencies or has communicated threats, report that person to your supervisor. A person’s life and property is at stake.”
Lenhart said there is three types of workplace violence.
• The person has no legitimate relationship with the workplace. The person might have committed a criminal activity such as a robbery.
• A violent or active threat from a client or customer who is doing business at the workplace.
• A former employee or someone who has a relationship with an employee of the business. This could include a friend, lover or spouse, said Lenhart.
“Prevention is the key,” said Lenhart. “We have to help one another. If you witness something, report it to your supervisor.”
If there is an active shooter at your place of employment, Lenhart said you should use the “Run, Hide, Fight” guidelines.
“You should have an escape route or plans in mind if something happens at your workplace,” said Lenhart. “You should execute your plan whether your fellow employees agree with it or not. Don’t be a sheep and follow everyone else. Have your plan ready to go.”
Lenhart said if an active shooter enters your workplace, you should leave your belongings behind and help others evacuate the building.
“Only call 911 when you are in a safe place,” said Lenhart.
If possible, he said, prevent the active shooter from entering your workplace.
“If someone has serious wounds and is not mobile — as hard as it is to do or say — leave that person behind for the medics to treat. If the person is ‘walking wounded,’ then help them get out of the building.
If you are unable to get out of the building, said Lenhart, you should find a place to hide from the active shooter.
“Hide so the shooter is less likely to find you,” said Lenhart. “Make sure you’re out of his or her vision. Don’t restrict your options for movement.
“Prevent the active shooter from entering your hiding place. That might mean locking the door or moving furniture in front of the door. Put your cellphone on silent If a loved one calls you — and the active shooter is standing outside the door where you’re hiding — then you’re in trouble. Radios and television should be shut off.
“Pretend that no one is in the room,” he said. “That means remaining silent. And start listening … you might be able to carefully call 911 if you can tell the shooter is away from where you hare hiding.”
Above all else, he said, do not panic.
“If you life is in immediate danger, then you need to fight,” said Lenhart. “Be aggressive. Throw things at the person. Yell at the person. By yelling you will notify other people who are near to you that the hooter is close.
“Do anything you can that will cause interruptions to the active shooter,” he said.
When law enforcement arrives at the scene or enters the building, everyone should put down anything they might have in their hands. Make sure your hands are visible to the officers.
“Follow their directions,” said Lenhart. “Don’t hesitate and execute what they are telling you. Don’t run toward the officers as they don’t know if you’re a good guy or a bad guy. The officer’s mission is to follow procedure.”
Lenhart said many men and women have issues in their personal lives. Some might have mental illness.
“Don’t hesitate to tell your supervisor if you’re concerned about someone’s behavior or comments they’ve made,” said Lenhart.
“The shooting in Virginia had different circumstances, but the end result was the same — people were dead or hurt,” said Lenhart.
On a different note, Lenhart said the inmates at the jail have planted 200 tomato plants, along with green beans and squash in the jail’s garden.
“I’m looking forward to getting into my fields to start plowing and planting my crops,” he said. “The farmers are really far behind in the planting season. So, farmers, be careful and safe out there. And to our fellow drivers, please be patient when you see a tractor traveling on the roadway.”
The writer conducts a weekly interview to update readers with news from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, 555 Gearhart Road, Sidney.