The police officer pleaded guilty to not dispatching officers more quickly to stop the Uvalde, Texas, school shootings is the head of the school system’s small police force, a unit that typically builds relationships with students and responds to the occasional fight. Dedicated to giving.
Preparing for mass shootings is a small part of what school police officers do, but local experts say that the preparation of officers assigned to schools in Texas — which includes mandatory active shooter training — doesn’t take any concrete steps. Provides foundation.
“Texas definitely has a tactical, ideological mindset,” said Joe McKenna, deputy superintendent of the Comal School District in Texas and a former assistant director at the state’s Center for School Safety.
A gunman killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School on Tuesday. As students called 911, officers waited more than an hour for the class to be disrupted after the gunman chased the gunman into the building. District Police Chief Pete Arredondo decided officers should wait Authorities said Friday to confront the gunman on the belief that he had been locked inside surrounding classrooms and that the children no longer posed any danger.
“It was the wrong decision,” the head of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Steven McCraw, told a news conference Friday.
Officials said a group of Border Patrol tactical officers would later open fire with the gunman and kill him. Arredondo could not immediately be reached by the Associated Press for comment on Friday.
Across the country, police officers working in schools are tasked with seeing who is coming and who is leaving, working on building trust so that students feel comfortable approaching them with problems, Teach programs against substance abuse and sometimes make arrests.
The Police Department for the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District states on its website that its primary goal is to “maintain a safe and secure learning environment for our future leaders and to build partnerships with students, teachers, parents and our current leaders.” while educating the community while enforcing laws and alleviating fear.”
Active shooter training was mandated by state lawmakers in 2019 in response to school shootings. Under state law, school districts are also required to have a plan for responding to active shooters in their emergency response procedures.
Security can sometimes be lax because school officials and officials may not believe there will ever be a shooting in their building, said Lynel Sparks, a school police officer in Hillsboro, Texas, and executive director of the Texas Association of School Resource Officers. Told.
“It’s always making sure you’re prepared,” she said. “People get rest. It happens in every district. You can’t say it doesn’t. It happens everywhere. We get to the point of, ‘Oh my god. This is horrifying. Safety security security.’ The school year goes by, ‘Oh, why do I have to lock my door everyday, you know? I wish every teacher taught behind closed doors. It doesn’t make it a prison system. It’s about saving lives. “
McKenna said that under the incident command approach widely adopted after 9/11, it is not surprising that the school police chief would be considered a commander, even after officers from other agencies arrived, McKenna said. The designated person will be deemed to be a commander unless relieved by a high-ranking officer, but not necessarily immediately when efforts are on to save lives, he said.
“Obviously this is still an ongoing investigation, but it makes sense that a police chief of a school district would be the initial incident commander,” McKenna said.
While many schools across the country host school resource officers who report to their municipal police departments, it is not particularly uncommon for school districts in some southern states and large cities to have their own police forces, such as Uvalde.
McKenna said her research on school policing indicates that training and other factors matter more than which agency is managing officers.
“It doesn’t matter whether you are in the school police department or SRO, it is more about the components of any good officer,” he said.
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More on the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas: https://apnews.com/hub/uvalde-school-shooting