Dog trained to attack is Oak Hills High School's newest line of defense

Schools across Ohio, nation watching approach

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CINCINNATI – A man dressed in black carries a pistol in his left hand, shouting as he briskly storms through the aisle of Cincinnati's Oak Hills High School auditorium.

"Everybody get on the ground now! Get on the ground! Get on the ground!" 

And then, out of nowhere:

BANG!

BANG!

BANG!

The sickening sounds of gunshots fill the school.

A 60-pound Dutch Shepard charges at the man, clinches onto his arm and tackles the gunman to the ground.

"Help! It hurts!" he shouts.

Within seconds, the dog's handler races towards the action, and tells the dog to release his stronghold. 

The dog let's go, licks his trainer on the face and jumps in the air for his reward: a tennis ball. 

The gunman was a trained professional. The bullets were blanks.  The high school auditorium was empty. But the scenario was all too real.

The Newtown, Conn. shooting rampage that killed 26 children and staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012 horrified the nation and ignited emotional calls for action to protect the nation's school children.

Congress has passed no gun legislation since Newtown despite President Barack Obama's failed push last year for expanded background checks and bans on some semi-automatic rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

Many schools across the country have tightened security. They've installed surveillance cameras, metal detectors, bulletproof glass and strengthened their lockdown procedures. Some have asked teachers to carry guns, installed ballistic white boards and encouraged children to carry bulletproof backpacks.

Amid the national and seemingly elusive search for the school security "answer," a Cincinnati dog trainer is convinced that it will take man's best friend to stop his worst enemy.

"That [Newtown] situation could have been extremely different [with a dog]," said Mark Gomer, who now has a mission to place full-time protection dogs in primary schools across the nation.

 

Become a WCPO Insider to read about how Oak Hills High School is using a trained dog to help with school security and how other schools districts across the country are modeling the school's security plan and learn why some want nothing to do with the idea. 

 

 

 

 

 

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