The threat of an active shooter is increasingly real. Sadly, Central Texans and all Americans are all too familiar with responding to active shooters. The deadly attacks in Killeen, Fort Hood, Dallas, joined with the tragic events outside of Texas, including those in San Bernardino, Sandy Hook, and Virginia Tech, are all cruel reminders of the threat active shooters are to society. Routinely we hear a chorus of support for law enforcement, but more must be done to prepare against these growing threats.
Knowing that we must do all we can to support our law enforcement officers, I wrote the “Protecting Our Lives by Initiating COPS Expansion Act of 2016 (the POLICE Act)” which will provide the Department of Justice with greater flexibility in funding active shooter response training through existing grants. And with the help of Senator John Cornyn of Texas, we were able to get this legislation passed and signed into law by President Obama.
Active shooter training works. When the terrorist Nidal Hasan attacked Fort Hood in 2009, two civilian officers trained at the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) facility in San Marcos, Texas responded and helped bring an end to the violence and bloodshed.
Today, more than 8,000 police agencies across our country, roughly 45 percent, have undergone some form of Active Shooter training. Clearly the value of the training for our emergency responders is self-evident and the need is greater than ever before. The POLICE Act opens alternative avenues to fund this vital training.
I’m proud to have authored the POLICE Act and know that it can make a real difference in law enforcement training. I’m not the only one. The Fraternal Order of Police, along with other law enforcement associations, have offered their full support and endorsement of this important legislation.
The POLICE Act will help ensure our men and women of law enforcement and all emergency responders are provided the tools to be the best trained for any situation. Including active shooter training as criteria for applying for Community Oriented Policing Service grants will provide opportunities for training where the need is greatest. The better trained our first responders are, the safer we all are.
Sadly, many first responders believe it is not if, but when, extremists will again terrorize our businesses, schools, and families. The threat is real, we must be prepared, and active shooter training has proven to help save lives. The POLICE Act is part of the solution to the deadly problem of active shooters and I will continue to do all I can to support our law enforcement and emergency personnel.