Veteran police officer preaches fundamentals after Texas Tech shooting

Texas State University. (KXAN Photo)
Texas State University. (KXAN Photo)

SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — As news of the Texas Tech shooting spread across the state Tuesday morning, many are wondering what went wrong.

“There are a lot of questions that need to be answered before we can start looking at this and saying this should have happened, this should not have happened, we don’t know enough yet,” said Texas State University criminal justice lecturer Howard Williams.

Before teaching at the university Williams was a police officer for 36 years with both the Austin Police Department and the San Marcos Police Department. After watching the situation at Texas Tech unfold, he says there’s no question how his lecture will start.

“I will definitely be talking about it at the beginning,” he said. “This is just the kind of thing we try to train officers to be on the lookout for and to be prepared to deal with. It’s just one of those unexpected things you just have to know is coming.”

Williams says a university police officer and a municipal officer are all taught the same. That includes the first two rules of law enforcement arrests: first search the suspect, then handcuff him until the booking process.

“At some point during the process, the handcuffs must come off while you are processing a prisoner. It’s very hard to fingerprint them and all this with handcuffs still on,” said Williams. “There is a reason we do things the way we do, why sometimes we may seem a little uncaring, a little difficult to get along with, there’s a reason, and this is it.”

Unfortunately, Williams says officers sometimes miss dangerous weapons during the pat down. “It can happen anywhere at any time. This particular time it just happened to a university police officer,” he said. “The unfortunate truth is that you only get to be wrong about one time on things like that, you don’t get a second chance.”

Williams says when he was the chief of police for the city of San Marcos, many times the university police department would be called in to help with cases. He says those officers should not be looked at any differently than municipal officers.

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