Abbott orders active shooter training for law enforcement, public school administrators

By Bethany Blankley

Gov. Greg Abbott has instructed the director of a state university center to provide active shooter training to law enforcement and school administrators in school districts across the state after police failed to stop a shooter from killing 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on May 24.

Abbott instructed Dr. Pete Blair, the director of the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Center at Texas State University, to provide training programs to all school districts across the state, prioritizing school-based law enforcement. He also requested ALERRT to provide an after-action debrief of the Uvalde shooting once the ongoing investigation is completed.

"We sadly recognize we cannot do anything to bring back the precious lives that were taken; however, we must do everything in our power to prevent the same tragic ending from happening again,” Abbott wrote to Blair. “An important part of these prevention efforts must focus on the proper training of law enforcement and school administrators on how to respond when they face the threat of an active shooter on their campus. This vital training, which is delivered by veteran first responders with proven experience in active attack response and police training, will help law enforcement on school campuses better respond to these situations.”

ALERRT training, which has been provided to more than 200,000 first responders nationwide, has never been provided to school districts statewide.

The active shooter program includes 16 hours of training related to team movement, room entry techniques, approach and breaching the crisis, shooting and moving, as well as post engagement priorities. The training Abbott is requesting be prioritized includes equipping school-based law enforcement with skills and knowledge to be prepared to respond to active shooting events in Texas public schools.

ALERRT also provides online training about mental health, civilian response and preparedness to active shooter scenarios, tactics for law enforcement and first responders for a range of situations, including fire being used as a weapon.

Abbott said that certified trainers in response to active shooter incidents at Texas Department of Public Safety “stand ready to help provide this life-saving training to campuses across the state as quickly as possible.”

The letter was also sent to DPS Director Steve McCraw, Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath, and Texas State University Chancellor Dr. Brian McCall. It comes after Abbott directed Morath to create rules mandating enhanced safety standards for public schools.

Abbott also asked the legislature to develop recommendations for school safety and other issues, and directed the Texas School Safety Center to review school safety procedures for all public schools. He also issued a disaster declaration for the city of Uvalde to make a range of resources more quickly available and allocated an initial $5 million to establish a long-term Family Resiliency Center to provide a range of mental health resources to Uvalde residents.

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