Officials are now reporting that the school resource officer ,also known as an SRO, At Majory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida waited outside the building as the shooting unfolded. Officials in Helena said that would never happen on their watch.
Lewis and Clark county Sheriff Leo Dutton assures me that all of his officers, including SROs, are well trained in active shooter scenarios.
"If we get there and you're alone, times have changed, you may have to go in alone and you may have to take on the shooter yourself," said Dutton.
All law enforcement agents go through active shooter training at least once a year, and are tested on procedures frequently because, as Sheriff Dutton put it, SROs protect our most valuable assets.
"It’s you or kids… What's your decision?”
There are about five SRO's on staff in Lewis and Clark County, so, not every school is armed at all times.
"If I had the staff, I would have SROs in as many schools as I could. It’s good for relations. They can help with children; there are many things they can help with. They receive training on how to respond to an active shooter. They could do that. They could put a quick end to it.
Broward County deputies received at least 23 calls warning them about the Florida shooter, Nikolas Cruz from 2008-2017, including concerns that he planned to shoot up the school. Sheriff Dutton says although he does not know the exact circumstances, when the Lewis and Clark County sheriff's office receives such a tip, they act.
"If you have a threat, then you go investigate and try to alleviate some of the anxiety and maybe a possible tragedy."
If a crisis isn't averted and no SRO's are present, Sheriff Dutton says deputies are stationed throughout the county, so someone would be on the scene in about three minutes.