HUMBLE, Texas (KTRK) -- If there is anyone who understands the crucial role a district police chief plays during a mass shooting, it's Humble ISD's Solomon Cook.
If a mass shooting were to happen at an Humble ISD school, Chief Cook would be held with the task of leading the response from law enforcement.
"The Uvalde incident should have never happened," Cook said. "Our officers are trained to respond to an active attack and go and stop the kill and the bleed."
Frustrations continue to boil over after a delayed response by officials in Uvalde. Fingers are being pointed at the school district's police chief, Pete Arredondo, who officials said made the decision to wait for backup and more tactical gear, wrongly believing the children were no longer in danger.
At one point, officials said more than a dozen officers waited in the hallway while the gunman fired sporadically and children desperately called 911.
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"There would be no waiting for someone else to come," Cook said. "Humble ISD will make entry. We will go in and stop the kill."
Humble ISD is a much larger school district than Uvalde ISD, covering more than 50 school campuses with 50 district police officers, compared to the six-member police force.
Cook said Uvalde's police chief should have known better.
"We are trained. The first officer on a scene goes in," Cook said. "Even if it's myself. If I am the first one, I would go in and find where the shooting is and stop it."
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Officials said Uvalde school police completed training for an active shooter situation two months before the mass shooting. Cook found this concerning because he said the training is crystal clear.
"The state of Texas has ALERRT Center trained peace officers, not only in Texas but all over the country," Cook said. "All peace officers in the state of Texas have to have the same training. The difference with school district police is we have mandated laws that pertain to our training. The training is there, the protocols are set, all we have to do is follow our training."
According to Cook, district police officers are mandated to train for an active shooter situation once a year. Humble ISD does excess training, but he said some districts are controlled by budgets, which won't allow for it.
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"We have had DPS and FBI come and conduct training," Cook said. "We put training in place anytime we can. If there are no kids on campuses, we will randomly call our officers to our Harris County Sheriff's Office gun ranges. We do situations on campus grounds, sometimes even school buses, to make sure our officer can deal with any situation that may occur."
When it comes to tactical gear and the right equipment, Cook said there is gear available for district police officers who respond to emergencies, but that gear isn't always with them.
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"We have tactical gear we utilize. Ballistic helmets, shields, shotguns, patrol rifles," Cook said. "Always a need, always new products coming on the market. Sometimes, it's expensive to keep up with purchasing such things."
Cook, who is also the president of the Texas School District Chief's Association, said he has spoken with other school district police chiefs who have expressed the need for more equipment to better prepare themselves.
Other responding agencies like Houston Police Department or the Harris County Sheriff's Office may have officers better equipped with more experience in similar situations, but Cook said his officers train to be ready for anything.
"We have had situations before when we work with law enforcement officers. If we need to have a unified command, we will do that. We work together to ensure the safety of students and staff," Cook said.
While questions loom over Uvalde, Cook said it hits close to home for all district police chiefs, especially here in Texas.
"When you see something like that, it makes you think about the students you are responsible for," Cook said. "You do a self-check to make sure you have everything you can do to safeguard your students and staff."
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