KILLEEN, TX — A lack of action and disorganization in response to an active shooter contributed to the deaths of 21 people, mostly children, at an elementary school in Uvalde earlier this year.
Something first responders in Bell County are determined not to repeat, and the first step is intense active shooter training.
”So, basically what we have is multidisciplinary training," said Peter Perez, Killeen’s OHSEM Director. "We have firefighters, EMS, police officers, our 911 dispatchers, and our emergency managers here in the room, from all over Bell County. Basically, working mock exercises of an active shooter incident."
The presentation was not your typical PowerPoint presentation aimed at stopping a shooter either, it brings every aspect of response together.
"[It's] what we call the integrated response,” said Bill Godfrey, active shooter incident management course instructor. “So, we’ve got law enforcement, fire, EMS, the 911 center, emergency management, all working together, running live scenarios over and over and over again.”
The realistic real-world scenarios include everything from planning to action and even virtual reality.
One educator in Killeen was happy to hear that Bell County officials are doing all they can to prepare for the worst.
”I appreciate the scenarios that they are coming up with, making it look as realistic as possible to kind of test the different senses in those situations,” said Jennifer Lee, Killeen Teacher.
Though Lee is happy to see better training, she isn’t happy that we need it.
"It’s just unfortunate that we’re really starting to embrace the idea that a school is going to get shot,” said Lee. “The idea that there's going to be a mass shooting at a school and we're just excepting it.”
While Lee believes that better gun control is needed she sees the need for better training as well.