Since Uvalde massacre, active shooter training has since doubled for many school districts in Texas

Police chiefs, school districts are now talking more about response and reaction to active shooters

UVALDE, Texas – The images of the officer at a standstill in the hallways of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde are still haunting one year later.

When it was all over, there were 21 dead in total, 19 children and two teachers.

There also was plenty of criticism and questions directed at law enforcement, with no proper answer possible. The inadequate response by so many officers armed with heavy firepower and protective vests, combined with the fact the shooter had easy access to the school, forced law enforcement to examine best practices for the future regarding an active shooter on a school campus.

In the aftermath of Uvalde, KPRC 2 Investigates traveled to the Austin area to witness firsthand a training exercise involving the school marshal program. The program is designed to train and arm school staffers in order to assist with an immediate response in the event of an active shooter.

The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement says there are approximately 305 school marshals in 74 districts statewide. The number is up from 256 marshals in 62 districts a year ago at this time.

In November, we traveled to an abandoned middle school in Montgomery County that had been transformed into what officials described as an “active shooter training lab” designed for officers from all sectors.

“We’re not trying to keep it to ourselves. This is a facility that everybody can come and use,” said Daniel Peña with Montgomery County Homeland Security.

There is no doubt that since the massacre in Uvalde, there has been an enhanced effort to make schools safer.

“With a lot of districts, the training has doubled,” said Solomon Cook, President of the Texas School District Police Chiefs Association.

For the last 20 years, Cook has been the Chief of the Humble Independent School District, one he says has been strongly emphasizing active shooter training for years.

“The state requires us to do firearms training once a year. We do it multiple times a year,” said Cook, while standing in one of his training classrooms.

Cook, along with other school district chiefs, are focused on Austin this session to see what legislation may bring in terms of support and resources, specifically in the area of mental health support and services.

WATCH: A visual perspective of what it really feels like in Uvalde one year later.

During our interview with Cook, he also made it very clear that school district police chiefs have more conversations with one another regarding school safety.

“It’s very beneficial, it puts us all on the same page with training and best practice,” he said.

Tune in on Wednesday, KPRC 2 Investigates will have live reports on air and online all day from Uvalde.

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Journalistic bulldog focused on accountability and how government is spending your dollars. Husband to Wonder Woman, father to a pitcher and two Cavapoos. Prefers queso over salsa.