Heading into a new school year, this Texas police chief means business.
The Houston Independent School District (ISD) Superintendent said if there were an active shooter, we would not be ready.
This is coming several months after another Texas school had an active shooter on school property killing 19 students and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas.
“What I do know is if there was an active shooter in HISD, our police department is not prepared.”
The discussion was tabled since there was worry that the weakness in the police department's vulnerability would spread to those who did not have a need to know.
HISD Police Chief Pedro Lopez is confident in the active shooter training but he is not confident that they have the necessary equipment. He believes they need a shield, rifle, and ammunition, and then know how to use the new equipment.
Lopez added the police officers need:
"Actual scenario-based training with live fire and shields. We need to learn how to maneuver those doors. How to overcome breaching those doors, and we don’t have the equipment in order to do that."
The HISD is expected to vote on proposed expenditures of $100,000 for rifles, ammunition, and ballistic plate shields this week.
Law enforcement plans to increase the number of personnel on duty at Houston school areas.
"Two hundred rifles, 200 ballistic plates, shields as well, and rifle ammunition, to qualify our officers. Right now, as we’ve studied the Uvalde scenario and looked at what proper preparation needs to be in place, our officers would not have been prepared.
Then on Friday, House issued the following statement:
"Along with our Board of Trustees and the HISD community, I will continue to be a tireless advocate for doing what is necessary to keep our students and staff safe. As we look forward to a new school year, HISD parents can rest assured that HISD Police, school administrators, and staff will continue to enforce existing safety measures while exploring areas of improvement to ensure the highest standard of safety.
"As an HISD parent myself, the safety and security of our students and staff is my highest priority. Prior to the tragic events in Uvalde, the administration decided to withhold any cuts to the HISD Police Department within our district for this very reason. Our officers need the proper training and equipment so that the district is prepared for a worst-case scenario. As I shared at our recent Board meeting, our current assessment is that HISD PD needs additional equipment and resources to ensure they are prepared to respond to just that kind of situation. That is why we’ve put forward several safety-related items before the Board for approval on next week’s agenda.
"Here’s what the district has been doing to increase safety across our system. Over the summer, several HISD schools received upgrades to fencing, cameras, and video storage capacity. The HISD Police Department staffs all middle and high schools with a School Resource Officer on site. Elementary schools are assigned dedicated patrol units who monitor these areas throughout the day. HISD Police is also in the process of conducting school audits as directed by the Texas Education Agency prior to the start of the school year on August 22, 2022.
"The conversation of safety and security cannot stop here. We will continue this conversation with our communities and the Board of Trustees in the weeks and months ahead. Above all else, it is our responsibility as educational leaders to create safe schools so that students and teachers can focus on the achievement of academic excellence."
Governor Greg Abbott previously announced $1.25 million for Uvalde to help with counseling and mental health.
Do you think Texas schools need to better prepare their school police force?