Stephenville Police Chief Jason King said school safety is one of his department’s biggest concerns.
Following the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012 when 20 children and six adults were gunned down, the SPD started a program that places police officers on various campuses across the district.
“About a month after Newtown happened we started the School Walk-Through Program, which happens every day that school is in session,” King said. “Patrol officers on duty are required to walk through two schools during their shift.”
The schools and times are chosen at random.
“This gives officers a chance to interact with school staff and students and creates better relationships,” King said.
Recent shootings at schools across the U.S. have sparked a debate on whether teachers should be armed, and we asked King if he supports that idea.
“Statistics show that many of these shootings are resolved before law enforcement arrives,” King said. “We will get there as fast as we can but any time delay can result in massive loss of life and we have seen that. So if there is any program that allows teachers, administrators or whoever the district deems fit to carry a gun, then I think that is something we should strongly consider.”
Meanwhile, if the unthinkable should ever occur, King said his officers are trained and ready.
“We recently took part in a very real active-shooter program at Tarleton,” he said. “Our officers have gone through extensive training on this.”