Q&A on Jerry Patrick


Officer Jerry Patrick is a member of the Dyer Police Department. Officer Patrick has been with the school for four years.

Jared Carroll, Author

Q:What are your views on the walkout?

A:My personal opinion, it could possibly be different than the police department or of our school corporation. Honestly I support the kids, I support the staff that wants to do that. I think there might be some confusion, some people think this is all about gun control, but the whole purpose is we want to show we are supporting the Parkland families that were victims, that’s really what today is about. I think that is pretty awesome, everyone nationwide are doing this today to show support, and I think in doing that it kind of helps the legislators and people making those law, maybe one day can affect how the laws are and maybe some changes. In my eyes, it is not about gun control but about public safety and school safety, so I support it for sure.


Q:Do you think a shooting could happen here?

A: It could happen in any school, any church, any store. It can happen anywhere, but there is actually no 100 percent sure way to say that nothing could ever happen at this point or anywhere. Do I think that we have a safe building? I really do. We are constantly trying to better it. I know that the police presence in Lake Central and all of our schools know is so much more than what it has been before, but I think Corporal [Mike] Moffitt and I try to do as much as we can, but it could happen anywhere, anytime. There are crimes that happen in a tri town outside our building. I feel like you guys are pretty safe here, it’s when you get outside the building, the mall and stuff like that is more dangerous than here.


Q:If a shooting happened what should students do?

A: If we ever had to go into a lock down, that’s our safety protocol that we put in place its not code red it’s called a lock down. That means a threat is in the building, so that means everyone needs to get behind a lock door. First thing you’ve got to [do is] get behind a locked door and we want to avoid whatever that threat is or where that threat is at. A lot of kids are nervous about the common areas, what if we’re in the cafeteria or what if we’re in the library or what if we’re in the hallways or even the bathrooms when a lock down or a threat is happening? What do we do there? A lot of kids are nervous and that’s why we tell them in the safety videos you get out of the building, you get to the nearest exit door. If you can’t get inside a classroom or get inside a classroom with a locked door, then you go to a classroom that is unlocked or you get out of the building, and once you’re out of the building, you get to the rally points outside the building. There are four here at Lake Central that we have that you can go to and stand at. Once they hear that “hey were good to go, we got it secure,” those officers are going to go to those rally points. The main thing is getting behind a locked door and try to be as quiet as you can, and help each other out, there are going to be people who are afraid, you need to pull them in whether you know them or not, we are all family here at Lake Central, and I think that you’ve got to help each other out.


Q:What should teachers do?

A: The first thing they are going to do is open that door and look out for any kids whether they’re their students or not. They’re going to pull them in, and shut that door and flip the lights off. They are going to have everyone hide so they can’t see the window. I think the teachers do a good job about this already, and we just [have to] keep practicing it. We need to do the drills the way we would do them in real time. The way we do it in the police department and the swat team is practice. It’s like a sport if you practice it. That’s the way you are going to perform if anything really did happen.


Q:What should parents do?

A: When we are in our classroom, if there is a threat going on and we are locked down, what we want our teachers to do is count four or five kids to text your mom or dad and let them know that we are in a lock down and safe in this room. It also lets them know what is going on. Parents are going to want to rush to the building, which they are not going to be able to get to the building since it will be shut down from streets. So what we want to do is have evacuation site for everyone of our school, for Lake Central it is actually Faith Church in Dyer, at 81st and Sheffield Avenue, and if anything happened we would all pack up on busses and be picked up there. The less amount of parents that are on the scene, the better since it helps us with traffic, I get it, I am a parent and I would rush too, but I want parents to know that when we have an incident you will not be able to pick up you kids and sign them out, it just doesn’t work that way. If it is a crime scene, we have to make sure every students is counted for and every staff member is counted for, so it does take a long time and I know it is hard to be patience, but it is part of the process.


Q:What are ways people can help prevent these shootings?

A: Whether it is a shooting or any kind of threat, it’s just talking and be open with stuff. We have had really good response by kid especially in the last few weeks [say], “hey I saw this snap or someone is making this video or comment” and bring it to our attention. A lot of kids are nervous that their name will be dragged in to this or that they will be a snitch, or someone diving them out and that’s not the case and if they do they can save at least one life or many, many, many lives. We don’t take it as a joke and we take everyone one of those serious, what we do is investigate it and we’ll determine if it is a valid threat or not, that for us to do so if students would let teachers know or let counselors know, or a principal know or even Corporal Moffitt or myself, just let us know so we can follow it up. We never use anyone’s name and we never will, we have other ways that we can go around and explain to the student we are looking in to,“ Hey listen we got this notice that we are looking in to” that how we do it since if we gave out names no one would ever give us information.