TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Texas police chiefs have started taking active shooter response training as part of their required continuing education classes.
The new mandatory four-hour curriculum for Texas police chiefs began this month in Lubbock.
The chiefs learned about the terminologies that are often used during active shooter incidents.
North Richland Hills Police Chief Jimmy Perdue serves as the president of the Texas Police Chiefs Association and says those second in command of their departments will have similar classes.
“Across the board, all the way from top to bottom, we all understand the terminology and frankly, we understand the expectations of law enforcement in a critical incident like this,” Perdue said. “Go to the threat and neutralize the threat.”
Perdue said the chiefs aren’t required to go through the same training as officers, which includes building searches as part of a 16-hour long curriculum.
In Texas, police chiefs must have a 40-hour block of training every two years.
The new curriculum comes about four months after an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.
That school district recently fired Police Chief Pete Arredondo, who was the on-scene commander that day, and received sharp criticism for taking more than one hour to pursue the gunman.
Chief Purdue said, “While we do not want to say that this class would have given him a level of expertise to do different decisions, we just felt like there was a gap in the training that we recognized when we were looking at it from a statewide perspective.”
Unlike Uvalde, he said most chiefs aren’t incident commanders, but that the training is vital, so chiefs have this knowledge about active shooter situations.
“The more information you have, the more knowledge you have, the better commander you can be to command an incident as it goes on,” Purdue said.
Even if chiefs aren’t on scene during an incident, Perdue said they are still responsible to make sure their officers are properly equipped and trained to respond to the situations.
While state leaders didn’t require this new training, Perdue said that after Uvalde, it became a priority for his organization, the Texas ALERRT Center and the Law Enforcement Management Institute.
“This is important,” Purdue said. “We need to do this and we need to make it happen fast.”