Appleton East school resource officer honored for potentially preventing tragedy

APPLETON, Wis. - While schools are getting more resources to stay safe, some already have the man-power. Last year, an Appleton school resource officer possibly prevented catastrophe.

Now, he's honored in front of his peers.

Officer Jack Taschner says when he saw two young men he didn't recognize at Appleton East High School last year, he took them to the school's office.

He didn't know at the time, they had a friend in the parking lot with two loaded handguns.

Wednesday, Taschner accepted a Top Cop award from Attorney General Brad Schimel for his actions that day. 

"To be recognized for that action is just tremendous because of the capabilities of all the people out there," said Taschner. 

Taschner says with only 1400 students at Appleton East High School, he can tell pretty quickly if someone's out of place. That relationship, he says, allowed him to quickly pick out the intruders.

"I think everyone that takes a position within a school has the almost heightened sense of responsibility because you become responsible for those kids," said Taschner. 

Taschner says in light of school shootings in communities like Parkland, Fla., he can't afford to let his campus community down.

"In light of everything that's going on in the country, it becomes a more important role than even the average officer. With Appleton having the amount of citizens we have, it's tough to feel accountable for all of them, but at the high school you feel accountable for all of them," said Taschner. 

Two of the men involved who came to Appleton East, Tou Thao and Blong Vang, were convicted of conspiracy to commit the physical abuse of a child.

The third person was a juvenile, so their court record is sealed.

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