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Coles County Sheriff on response to Mattoon High School shooting

Community members say they feel safer after seeing the response of law enforcement during the Mattoon High School shooting. (WCCU)

Community members say they feel safer after seeing the response of law enforcement during the Mattoon High School shooting.

"The way these guys responded, 'hey, I'm safe. The whole county's safe,'” said Cedar City Motors owner Walter Edwards, who also has grandchildren who have attended Mattoon High School.

The Coles County Sheriff’s Office deployed about 10 officers, who were all prepared for an ugly task. They applaud the teacher who intersected the gunman.

"Our job is to save as many lives as possible in that situation,” Coles County Chief Deputy Tad Freezeland said. “And in order to do that sometimes it's an ugly job on our side, but we are going to go after that shooter."

From there the Sheriff's Office job was to keep the crime scene secure, while other officers went inside and evacuated remaining students and staff. Other officers were assigned to help move students to riddle elementary to meet their parents.

"It's probably a dump in adrenaline when you're responding to these things, but you know with the training that we provide our officers and other agencies provide their officers, this is what we're paid to do,” Freezeland said. “Again, we're going to respond there with every intention of stopping the threat and saving as many lives as possible."

The Sheriff's Office says they're now evaluating their response to make any improvements necessary, but at the end of the day, they were pleased with how well their training prepared them.

"You never expect something like this to happen, but yet they were ready for something like this,” Edwards said.

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