Small police departments get much needed active shooter training

Police train at ALERRT facility in San Marcos (KXAN Photo)
Police train at ALERRT facility in San Marcos (KXAN Photo)

SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) – A new law signed by President Barack Obama earlier this year will help police departments with little funding train for big events like active shooter situations.

The bill was pushed forward by Senator John Cornyn and Congressman John Carter. On Wednesday Carter had the chance to see some of the training these departments could receive in action.

“It’s impressive. We have a little range out there in Temple that has a tire house with two rooms in it and that’s how we try to train for this kind of thing,” said Brad Hunt with the Temple Police Department. “You look at this facility and you realize that it would be very worthy for us to come down and take advantage of what’s available here.”

Just like the Temple Police department, not all agencies have the chance to train their officers in real life active situations.

“We go through a very basic one day, the nationally excepted standard for how you respond to active shooters,” said Hunt.

Hunt says his department hasn’t trained for active shooter situations in three years due to funding issues.

“It’s an effort and a budgetary strain to try and get a facility that makes the scenario real enough to gain training out of it,” said Hunt.

Thanks to the recently passed Protecting Our Lives by Initiating COPS Expansion (POLICE) Act, departments like Hunt’s will now have a chance to train like the big departments at facilities like Texas State University’s Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Training Facility.

“We have found an income source through the COPS grants, senator Cornyn and I got it passed by the law and signed by the president, a bill that allows departments to use COPS grants for training now,” said Congressman Carter.

The money will come from the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Grant. Police departments can draw from the grant’s $187 million to train officers, medics and firefighters.

“The idea is to make it to where there is no more additional cost to the agency that’s doing the training,” said ALERRT Executive Director Pete Blair.

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