HISD asks school board to fund police equipment for active attack responses

Mycah Hatfield Image
Thursday, August 11, 2022
HISD asks school board to fund police for active attack responses
"I think there are very few school districts that are prepared for an active shooter with an automatic weapon," HISD Superintendent Millard House said.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As it stands, Houston ISD Superintendent Millard House II said the district is not equipped to handle an active attack on its facilities. He said that is the case with most districts.

"I think there are very few school districts that are prepared for an active shooter with an automatic weapon," House said in a news conference Wednesday. "That's a very different type of perpetrator."

Humble ISD Police Chief Solomon Cook also serves as the Texas School District Police Chief's Association president.

He agrees with House. Cook said many school districts have not equipped their police departments for the attacks, so they often times rely on surrounding law enforcement.

"They've always said, 'Well, we'll call in the city or the county to come help,' but a lot of the other agencies are struggling on personnel, too," Cook said.

HISD school board members will be asked to vote on Thursday during their meeting to approve more than $2 million to purchase rifles, ballistic shields, bulletproof vests, and ammunition for their police department.

HISD Police Chief Pete Lopez said he believes the district's 200 officers are fully trained for an event but just lack the equipment. He said they have been studying what happened in Uvalde and looking for ways to improve their safety and security measures.

"To be very clear, HISD PD will be the first responder in any active shooter situation that occurs on our campuses or facilities," Lopez said.

House said they will be prepared for an active attack if the funding gets approved.

"I would definitely see that we would be as prepared as one can be," House said. "I think it's about not only protecting but being prepared for the inevitable, hoping that the inevitable doesn't occur."

The Texas Civil Rights Project said in a statement that they are against the approval of the funding and subsequent purchase of rifles and shields.

"We have repeatedly demanded that HISD stop over-investing in school policing, but time and time again, HISD has failed to act in the best interest of the community and its students. Rather than spending that money on counseling and social work services to serve their students more holistically," the organization said in a statement.

In addition to working to equip their police officers, HISD said they have altered perimeter fences on campuses and beefed up their security camera system. They are also in the process of doing exterior door checks, which will be done weekly throughout the school year.

"HISD parents can rest assured that officers will continue to enforce safety measures while exploring areas of improvement for the coming school year," Lopez said.

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