As students prepare for return, campus police prepare for what could happen
KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - Worries about campus shootings are not going away.
But in an effort to not just quash those fears, and go over a plan if anything tragic were to happen, one Central Texas campus police force has been working to know what to do if the worse were to happen.
That means intense training at the Killeen Independent School District with scenarios officials hope they never actually have to go through. It is as close police can get without going through an actual tragedy.
“The worst thing that can happen in our environment is that we have a school shooter,” said Ralph Disher, KISD police chief. “And we don’t ever want to not be prepared for that.”
Throughout the week, KISD’s campus police force has been going through active shooter training, using a decommissioned campus to run through drills.
Officers were tasked with responding to a shooter already in a classroom, moving past the “wounded” and straight into where the threat it was.
“Once they hear the shots fired that’s their trigger point, to move forward toward the shots that are being fired, to eliminate the threat,” said Disher.
And in a matter of moments, in this scenario, the threat was eliminated.
The response plans are devised by people like Disher and others. All have reviewed footage and reports from other school shootings in the past.
“It changes each and every time they come through. So that, as creative as we can get on what a shooter may do, we try to put them in those situations,” said Disher.
It is also a unique exercise because they are using simulated chalk rounds that are fired from guns that are near-replicas of regulation weapons officers use.
The simulation weapons were bought by the district last April.
“It allows them to get as close to actual gunfire as possible so that they are trained properly,” said Disher.
Going forward, the department also plans on using other KISD campuses for similar trainings, when class is not in session. That way officers can become familiar with the layout of as many campuses as possible.
But, it is training everyone hopes will not have to be needed in the future.
“We’ve transitioned to this in society now where we have to have police officers in school … we now have to be able to respond and make sure that our people train properly,” said Disher.
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