Local agencies continuously train and plan for the worst possible scenarios that may occur in their areas such as a shooter on the loose at a school or government facility.
“We never know what is going to happen and active shooters can happen anywhere, schools, city or county officials even the corner convenience store,” said Robstown Police Chief Darly Flores.
The Alice Special Weapons Attack Team (SWAT) recently had a mock scenario at a local school and the local college wants to have a training exercise at their campus, said Alice Police Chief Rex Ramon.
“I can say we are ready,” he said. “But we won't know until we are faced with the situation. We are prepared and would call other agencies to assist if needed.”
SWAT is continuously training for different scenarios and include local agencies when possible.
“Our guys have undergone basic and advance training which incorporate a lot of active shooter training,” said Jim Wells County Chief Deputy Louie Valadez. “We have also set up active shooter training or any emergency situation at the courthouse.”
Law enforcement agencies in the area work with schools to ensure that school officials are prepared with the basic knowledge to keep the students safe.
“I tell my officers they always have to be on their toes,” Chief Flores said.
Flores knows that it is better to be ready then have a false sense of security because we live in such small tight-knit communities.
For citizens that may find themselves in such a situation, JWC Lt. Rey Aguilar said the best defense they have are three simple things to remember, escape, hide and fight.
“If you can get out, run. If you can't get out then hide. Turn off the lights, lock the doors and make it look like no one is in the office or room,” Aguilar stated. The last resort is to fight. Fight the suspect and try to get out.”
Every agency actively works to protect its citizens especially the school districts.
In Duval County the Crisis Response Unit (CRU) works with the school districts in the area regularly. They have walk throughs of the campuses to be sure that when and if a situation should arise they are prepared. Lt. Johnny Perez with the CRU unit believes that if they don't train vigorously when the time comes the officers may not remember or panic.
“Our deputies are ready,” Perez said. “We need to be prepared if something should happen. I tell the deputies the just because we haven't had anything happen doesn't mean it can't.”
Chief Flores also has his officers training whether it's in a lecture type class or a hands-on drill. Robstwon PD has had to lock down the high school in the past.
“The incident was across the street, but for safety the school went into lockdown,” Flores said. “It gave us a chance to put our training to use and see what we, the department and the district, needed to work on.”
“We train even if it is repetitive,” Perez stated. “All officers should be physically and mentally ready.”
“You hope and pray that your community is never faced with that type of situation, but we feel that our officers have the training to handle the situation,” Valadez stated.