TSTC Police Takes Part in Active Shooter Training
Friday, May 9, 2014
The Texas State Technical College Police Department recently took part in the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Active Shooter Response Program developed by Texas State University in order to be better prepared in the case of an active shooter on campus.
TSTC Police Chief Aurelio Torres said the two-day training took place at IDEA San Benito High School and nearly 30 peace officers took part in the training including all 10 from the TSTC Police Department.
“Our officers gave up their weekends for this because we feel it’s very important to be ready,” Torres said.
Since 2002, ALERRT has delivered vital active shooter training response training to nearly 40,000 law enforcement professionals from 700 agencies and 46 states across the country through nearly $25 million in state and federal funding.
“It’s up to us to coordinate the training so Sergeant (Eduardo) Patino was tasked with setting this whole thing up,” Torres said. “We were fortunate that there was enough funding when we called to set up the training.”
TSTC teamed up with the San Benito Police Department in this training. SBPD sent nine officers and the hands-on training took the officers through everything from explosives response training to casualty tactics and team drills moving from room to room looking for the shooters.
“Stress levels were definitely high during the training,” Patino said, noting the effectiveness of the hands-on training. “It builds up confidence,” Patino said. “As a first responder, we leave the training reassured of ourselves that we’re ready to handle any situation. “
Torres said he felt the training is necessary because in the case of an active shooter on campus, his officers would be the first responders on the scene.
Prior to the Columbine High School massacre in 1999 in Colorado, response tactics involved setting up a perimeter and waiting for S.W.A.T. to arrive, Torres said. Today, the first responders are expected to take out the shooter, Torres said.
“If something happens here, we’re going to be the first ones on the scene,” Torres said. “We can’t wait for backup to arrive, we’ll need to act quickly.”
Torres said the campus is divided into five sectors and officers are assigned beats so that each sector is patrolled at all times. Torres said he would rather never put the training into use but if the moment arises, he said TSTC Police is ready.
Torres said training and preparedness isn’t limited to law enforcement. Civilians can also take steps to ensuring they’re ready in the case of an active shooter at the workplace or in public.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provide an online training course for civilians. The course outlines what a civilian should do in the case of an active shooter situation and explains the role of law enforcement in the same situation.
Torres urges everyone to take part in the 40-minute online training.
“People need to be aware of the role of the officer in that situation,” Torres said. “Whether they’re at work or anywhere in public, it’s important to know this because these situations can occur anywhere.”
For the online training, go to http://training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/IS/courseOverview.aspx?code=IS-907.