According to Education Week, in 2022 there have been 27 school shootings. There have been 119 school shootings since 2018. The highest number of shootings, 34, occurred in 2021 with 10 in 2020 and 24 each in 2018 and 2019.
Last week, local law enforcement and first responders participated in a two-day active shooter training hosted at Poteet High School. The training was put on by instructors from Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training, or ALERRT.
Members from Poteet PD, Somerset PD and ISD, Pleasanton PD, Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, Poteet VFD, Atascosa County EMS, Natchitoches, Louisiana PD, Southwest ISD PD, Kerrville ISD PD, Bastrop PD, Poteet ISD PD and Atascosa County Animal Control were in attendance at the training.
Policemen, medical professionals and firefighters went through a variety of scenarios during the two day training. Police officers, wearing blue vests during the training, entered the hallway and classrooms with practice weapons to eliminate the shooter. After the shooter (volunteer parent) was eliminated, firefighters and EMS came in wearing red vests to help “victims” of the shooting. The “victims” were student volunteers wearing stickers to represent wounds.
ALERRT has many courses for emergency situations. The training was classified as an Active Attack Incident Response (AAIR). According to ALERRT Instructor CJ James, they have worked with many law enforcement agencies and first responders over the past 20 years to prepare for such occurrences. James noted that during the two days, he saw the coherence among the group grow tremendously.
“We start seeing where they’re starting to work together a little bit,” James said. “They’re starting to learn each other’s methodologies. And as we keep doing more and more of these, it starts really becoming more of a fine tuned machine where we anticipate needs. The relationship building is the biggest part and learning to trust each other. Each component understands what the priorities are for the other component, whether it’s fire and EMS, or PD.”
Ahead of the 2022-2023 school year, Poteet ISD Superintendent Charles Camarillo and law enforcement have communicated with staff members in regards to the security on each campus. He added that they are consistently seeking ways to improve safety in the schools.
“We’re reevaluating all our procedures,” Camarillo said. “In fact, last week we spent our time with our access point exterior doors. [We] communicate to our staff that locked doors are our friends and not to take liberties with propped doors. We look at everything. I think we’ve done a good job but at the same time, I don’t think you can ever be too prepared.”
Poteet ISD Police Chief Willie Mendez stated the school has participated in multiple active shooter trainings in the past and continues to update their security measures.
“We’re revamping the lockdown procedures and looking at the security measures for intruders,” Mendez said. “We review what we already have, we review what we can do better, and then we implement that before the school week starts.”