Law enforcement offers who work in schools are trained to handle active shooter situations, however, lawmakers are now questioning whether the training is enough in the wake of the Uvalde massacre.
KPRC 2 Investigates reviewed state training records for Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District police officers and found officers had at least eight hours of training in 2021.
UCISD officers were among the first responders to the shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead. The response to the active shooter is now questioned by lawmakers and the community grappling with the attack.
“It’s not enough for them,” said Sen. Roland Gutierrez. “What I would like to see from a training perspective is that we have course work that is a lot longer than eight hours and more intensive.”
The mandated training passed under House Bill 2195 during the 86th legislature in 2019 after the Santa Fe High School shooting.
In 2020, the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement issued detailed training material on active shooter response for school-based law enforcement. Trainers are to ensure responding officers understand that their first priority is to “stop the killing.”
The training, which is publicly available on the Commission’s website, also explains that the number of deaths in an active shooter situation is determined by “how quickly police or other armed response arrives and engages them” or how quickly the shooter can find victims.
“Anybody in that hallway, there were 19 officers, they were bound to follow through with the active shooter protocols,” said. Gutierrez.
The training guide also states barricaded suspects are the “greatest threat” for officers who are trying to take control.
However, lawmakers like Senator John Whitmire, who sits on the criminal justice committee, questions how much accountability there is when officers are going through training.
“If you’re going to have school officers, they’ve got to be better trained,” said Whitmire.
Greg Friman, a retired Houston police captain who has been trained in several active shooter drills, also believes officers need to be prepared for the “greatest threat.”
“I do see these school district police departments being asked to train at a much higher and aggressive level with the hours of training they are going to be getting,” said Friman.