AUSTIN, Texas — On Tuesday evening, the Texas Police Chiefs Association resident and the San Marcos police chief told state senators active shooter training for police officers is "woefully inadequate."
"Out of all the testimony today, I have yet to hear one person testify and say, 'I'm sorry,'" San Marcos Police Chief Stan Standridge said. "I'll start by saying I'm sorry to those parents who have lost the unimaginable, to those spouses. [TPCA President Jimmy Perdue], I would submit to you that our profession failed on this day. So I begin with apology."
Standridge and Perdue testified during the Senate Committee to Protect All Texans hearing on Tuesday. Their testimony shared with senators their own recommendations for changes that law enforcement agencies across the state need to implement.
Standridge, an adjunct professor with ALERRT at Texas State University for 18 years, laid out the following list of changes:
- Eliminate check box training
- ALERRT level one operator course must be part of the Basic Peace Officer Academy.
- Determining root causes for any school threats rather than just a potential three-day suspension for students who make threats
- Police officers in the field need access to continuity of care documentation for possible mental health responses
- More grant funding for embedding mental health clinicians in 911 peace apps and mental health units
- ALERRT certification courses as a requirement for grant funding for breaching shields and medical equipment
- Expanding accreditation for peace officer training
"At our level, there is zero requirement for commander level officers to go to active shooter training. That needs to change. There should be a minimum of eight, ideally 16 hours required for chief executives as part of active shooter management," Standridge said.
He added those trainings for every officer need to happen regularly, not just one time to "check the box."
"What we're asking you to consider is: mandate that a school marshal has to have 16 hours of ALERRT training biannually," Standridge said. "The school marshal program has shown remarkable merit because it requires biannual training, it requires a psychological assessment, it requires a background investigation. There are specific protocols that have to be developed by the school board of trustees."
Many of the senators thanked Standridge and Perdue for their testimony Tuesday night but did not say whether or not the measures proposed by the two would be implemented.
The Senate committee will continue hearing testimony on Wednesday morning.
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