HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — The release of the security and body camera video from Uvalde, Texas, from May 24, has sparked outrage from the community but has created insight into what law enforcement agencies need to do in the event of an active shooter.
High Point police will soon begin the department’s first active shooter training session on July 21 since the video was released.
On Wednesday, High Point Police Chief Travis Stroud said his officers will essentially go through the video minute-by-minute.
“We’ve been given a rep that we can learn from. And if we’re not looking and doing a critical debrief in what went on in many of these instances, we’re doing a disservice to all of the people who lost their lives,” Stroud said.
High Point police conduct active shooter training drills on a routine basis.
Given the light of the situation in Uvalde and the recent reports released, Stroud said more time needs to be devoted to making sure his officers are physically and mentally ready.
“When you don’t know what to do, what do you have to fall back to? Your training,” Stroud said.
High Point police will set up a series of different scenarios that involve active shooters inside of a school.
These will be done in a real-world setting that will have officers physically work on solo and group methods that will be used to neutralize a shooter.
This will last for much of the month of August up until the start of the academic school year for Guilford County Schools on Aug. 29.
In the newly released report of the Robb Elementary School shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead, investigators found 379 made “egregiously poor” decisions.
Some of the criticism received, that Chief Stroud also noted when he watched the video, was the appearance of disorganization.
He said that his officers will be trained on how to take control of a situation when no one else seems to be doing so.
“If no one is in charge, you take charge. That goes from my level, the agency head, to the guy we just hired yesterday,” he said.
In his chest pouch, the chief carries a badge that reads “The day chooses you,” which is a sentiment that was instilled upon him more than a decade ago when active shooter training ramped up in the department.
He said it reflects and reminds him and other officers that they must be ready to respond to any situation at a moment’s notice and remember that they are never in control.
“Who controls the situation? The bad guy. He controls when it starts, what level you go up to, and he’s going to control when it ends,” Stroud said.
Currently, High Point police do not employ school resources officers for elementary campuses, and that’s something that will likely not change anytime soon.
The department has a shortage of more than 30 officers. And if there were financial backing for 14 SROs for 14 campuses, the logistics would not work out.
“Even if we were to get the funding to add 14 officers, I don’t think we could do it,” Stroud said. “I couldn’t pull 14 officers to go to elementary schools without taking them off the street.”
High Point police will allow faculty and staff members from public and private schools to be involved in portions of their active shooter training. This will happen on one of three different days in the month of August.
Security video from Uvalde shows that the gunman was inside the campus for three minutes before first responders arrived.
“If something were to kick off, our department would be there in a matter of minutes. But those 120 seconds is absolutely important. You have to kick your plan in place to defeat these things or come up with a better outcome, “ Stroud said.
Guilford County Schools released a statement on Wednesday, saying:
“Guilford County Schools is grateful for its partnership with the High Point Police Department and our shared commitment to educate and inform our community. We believe that keeping our students and staff safe is a top priority.”–GCS
On Thursday, GCS leaders will host a news conference regarding the Evolv Body Scanners in place at two schools and a timeline for their extended use in all district high schools in the coming months.