Former Columbine officer weighs in on how to prepare for school shootings

An officer who responded to one of the first major school shootings in the U.S. now works in North Dakota to help prevent such attacks.

Don Moseman of the North Dakota Safety Council was one of the officers who responded to the Columbine shooting in 1999.
Zoom Capture
We are part of The Trust Project.

NORTH DAKOTA — It is a day he does not like to talk about. Don Moseman was an officer in Denver for about 20 years, and is one of the officers who responded to the Columbine massacre in 1999.

He is now in Bismarck working for the North Dakota Safety Council, making sure our communities are protected from these threats. Columbine is just one of three mass shootings then Officer Moseman had to deal with — days that will always stick with him.

"It's not until after the event is over that you sort of start processing what you saw," Moseman recalled.

He turned in his badge since then, going from reacting to these attacks, to pro-actively working to prevent them.

"An active shooter is a risk to anybody," Moseman said. "That's the other thing we have to embrace is that it can happen anywhere."


When it comes to school shootings, he says every layer of prevention lowers risk. This means things like having lock down plans, collaboration with emergency responders, and cameras at the building.

"Having a school resource officer, having a security camera system," Moseman said. "By the way, one of the major gaps we see in schools is monitoring of cameras."

He finds schools spent the last two decades improving their plans. Moseman saw shootings increase in the late 90s, and believes this trend correlates with the rise of social media.

Regardless of the whys, he hopes schools focus on prevention and security.

"You can't really control what happens in politics as a general rule," Moseman. "But there a lot of things that we can control."

Moseman said the last fatality from a school fire was in the late 70's thanks to quality fire prevention and prep. He hopes we can someday put school shootings in the past as well.

What to read next
The driver was not wearing a helmet and faces charges for driving under the influence in relation to the crash.
A white man in his 20s stole a woman's purse, and got away on a bike, according to police.
The UTV driver was ejected when his vehicle struck a boat being towed by a passing truck.
Officials will push for a faster construction timeline for the $1.3 billion Red River Valley Water Supply Project, which will provide supplemental water during periods of extended drought to cities including Fargo and Grand Forks.