TEXAS – A thunderous gun blast and screams pierced the silence inside the library of Walsh Middle School.
Seconds later, an active shooter is taken down.
Those saving lives? School Marshals who are trained by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement.
“The school marshals are civilians who are highly trained to step into the role that they would have if they had a police officer there,” said Solomon Cook, Chief of Police for Humble, Humble ISD, and President of Texas School Districts Police Chiefs Association.
Currently, there are 256 Marshals in 62 of the state’s 1026 districts designed to provide an immediate response as law enforcement descends on a scene. The training policies are established by TCOLE, with school districts selecting a potential marshal.
“The state sets the criteria for what the person must do and the district has to have the person that meets the criteria and we put them in that role,” said Cook.
Marshalls require not only a distinct drive, but also the ability to save lives when they are in the balance.
“We would not want somebody armed in that situation who doesn’t have the drive to potentially use deadly force,” said Cullen Grissom, Deputy Chief for TCOLE.
As for how the massacre in Uvalde has changed the program’s training?
“We have not modified the training based on what happened in Uvalde, yet,” said Grissom.
According to both Grissom and Cook, adding marshals has been an interest expressed by multiple districts in the aftermath of the tragedy at Uvalde.