By Jim Misunas
CHASE — First Bank President Jeff Laudermilk and Elsie Sells, First Bank senior vice president, breathed a sigh of relief.
Bank robbery suspect Jason Michael Gleason, 30, of Lyons, was apprehended Tuesday on charges of attempted first-degree murder in the commission of a felony, attempted second-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping and probation violation 11 hours after he robbed First Bank of Chase at gunpoint.
“We have a training session every year and must pass a written test on the computer on what we should do and what we shouldn’t do,” Sells said. “The training definitely helped us. Our employees did exactly what they were told to do. They were very calm. They didn’t talk to each other or anyone else about what happened.”
Sells said they’ve been trained that lives are more important than the loss of money at the bank.
“You do what they want you to do,” Sells said. “You always wonder what will happen in real life if it happens and no one can tell you that.”
Laudermilk said he appreciated that Sells had trained her employees.
“We’re very thankful they handled it well,” he said. “During high duress, they stayed calm and did remarkably well. We are sincere about the training. We also do a mock event periodically to train our staff.”
He said bank employees and trained to do what the robber requests.
“The banking and insurance industries harp that people are what matters and comply with what you need to do,” he said. “You want your folks to stay calm and cool and think things through. But thinking your bank would be robbed it pretty far from your mind.”
Laudermilk said he appreciated that First Bank customers checked on how the employees were doing Wednesday.
“We definitely went into a support mode today. The customers were all stopping by to see how the gals were doing,” he said.
Sells said the bank tellers did everything right, including locking the doors until police help arrived.
“We locked the doors and kept the crime scene intact,” Sells said.