'Our officers would not be prepared': HISD trustees voting on security upgrades in wake of Uvalde

Pooja Lodhia Image
Saturday, August 6, 2022
HISD officers are not prepared for active shooter situations.
HISD Superintendent Milliard House II said he believed that the officers would not be prepared after studying the Uvalde scenario and wants to approve training and $100,000 worth of equipment.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Just two weeks before school is slated to start in Texas' largest school district, the Houston Independent School District superintendent and police chief have said schools are unprepared for an active shooter situation.

"As we study the Uvalde scenario and look at what preparation needs to be in place, our officers would not be prepared," HISD Superintendent Millard House II said.

He's asking board members to approve an estimated $100,000 worth of equipment. That covers ammunition, along with 200 rifles and 200 ballistic plate shields.

"The equipment I'm requesting is additional training to teach officers how to breach the doors, how to use the shields and neutralize those suspects and, of course, save our students and our staff members," HISD Police Chief Pete Lopez explained.

HISD currently has 202 officers on staff. 13 Investigates' Ted Oberg spoke with Police Chief Lopez on how he feels about the safety of the 280 campuses and buildings that he protects.

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The chief said the district needs to increase real-life shooting scenario training and better arm officers.

"On the campus they're going to have pistol grade shields, and in conjunction with ballistic plates and body armor," Chief Lopez said. "That should provide them with protection to try and stop the killing as soon as possible."

The purchase goes up for a vote next week.

But, at least one trustee said she wants more quantitative research done before approving anything. If you recall, the officers responding to the Uvalde shooting also had equipment and training.

"There's not only one initiative that can be put forward that can magically make schools safer," HISD trustee Dani Hernandez said.

"The first thing that needs to happen is a conversation about the broader safety plan of HISD."

Superintendent House said multiple HISD schools received upgrades to fencing, cameras, and video storage capacity this summer.

The HISD police department is also in the process of auditing specific schools from now until the start of the school year as part of a state plan to increase security.

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