Burgeson to give active shooter presentation Saturday
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Burgeson to give active shooter presentation Saturday

By Kenli Carlson

Michael Burgeson of the Yankton Police Department wants to educate people about what to do when coming in contact with
a shooter.

Burgeson will give an active shooter presentation today at 9 a.m. to Girls State delegates in Aalfs Auditorium
Slagle Hall.

“I want the public to walk away with the fact that you have to be able to do something. You can’t just sit there and do nothing, because you can survive this,” Burgeson said.

Drawing inspiration from his grandfather, who was a deputy sheriff, Burgeson wanted a career in law enforcement since he
was young.

“My job is to save lives,” he said. “If I can teach you how to save your life, and someone comes in with a gun or a knife, and you survive, I have done the best thing in the world. It is my job to help people. We are here to help you. We are here to
save lives.”

Burgeson will teach Girls State delegates that active shooters are not specific to a certain situation or environment. An active shooting can take place anywhere, and the ways a situation can occur
are endless.

Some delegates are excited to learn something new through the presentation. Lauren Bern, Chicago, is pleased her fear about shootings may decrease after Saturday’s presentation.

“It’s kind of scary knowing there could be an actual shooter that could appear anywhere, but it is nice to know how to handle the situation. I think it will be a great learning experience,“
Bern said.

Bern isn’t the only delegate excited about learning new
safety methods.

“It could happen to anyone. I think it’s best to be aware, because you would rather be prepared than be in the situation and have no idea how to handle yourself,” said Daesha Erskin, St. Paul.

Burgeson said this information is applicable to real life. Because this information can affect anyone, ALA Girls State Director/Chairman Cheryl Hovorka said it’s important the active shooter presentation is open to the public.

“We always think it’s never going to happen to us. But it could happen anywhere — school, church, the mall and airport. So I just think it’s something people should be aware of,” Hovorka said. “Even though it’s a tragic thing that could happen to anyone, there is always a way to be safe and properly handle
the situation.”

During the presentation, Burgeson will also talk about the Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate (ALICE) program. The ALICE program is a foundation dedicated to promoting proactive strategies to improve the chances of survival during an active shooter event.

His speech will include a PowerPoint presentation, hands-on activities and crowd involvement.