By Daniel E. McGonigle
The Caledonia Argus
Matt Seitz of Guided Safety Solutions came before the ISD#299 school board and presented on how his company would like to bring a pilot program to the district.
The program would put a trained dog and his handler in the building to help detect and deter an active shooter situation.
At no cost to the district, the program would “promote safety for our students,” said Seitz.
“You’ve trained on the ALICE training,” said Seitz of the current system the school has implement meant to teach students to “run, hide, fight” in the event of an active shooter. “The dog is the next level.”
Seitz said that the dog is a “clone” of a highly trained dog.
The dog is trained to detect numerous issues including drugs and other illegal activity.
“We’d only use that if we were asked to,” Seitz said.
As the company attempts to get off the ground, it is beneficial to place a dog within a district for future selling points.
Seitz said that the specialized training is such that the dog does not mistake a student who is simply there to learn for one who is there to do harm.
“It’s amazing to see these dogs in action and how good they are at their jobs of spotting the possible shooter,” Seitz told the board.
Board members asked if the handler would be carrying a weapon.
Seitz’s answer: “yes.”
“But,” he assured the group, “the weapon would be concealed.”
Seitz said he couldn’t in good conscience send his officer into a possible shooting situation unarmed.
“That might be a deal breaker for us,” said board chairman Kelley McGraw.
The dog would bounce between both buildings and some concerns were raised by board members regarding “Willow,” the current dog in the elementary who is there to help students work through behavioral issues.
“The dog gets along well with other dogs,” said Seitz.
Caledonia police chief Kurt Zehnder spoke in favor of the program.
Seitz planned to send a video to all board members as the meeting was held in Eitzen and there were technical difficulties.
“I’d hate to see it go to Iowa,” said Seitz as there is a district just across the boarder who are “ready to go,” on bringing the dog. “There is a school in Texas who are ready to roll as well.”
McGraw assured Seitz that the district would make a decision at their August regular board meeting.