■ Local law enforcement officers step up patrols of schools,
Central Texas law enforcement officials have increased patrols at school zones this week, partly in response to a mass shooting at a Connecticut school Friday in which a man killed 26 people, including 20 students.
The Austin Police Department and the Travis County Sheriff’s Office have joined the Austin school district police department in additional patrols at school zones in the mornings and afternoons until Friday, Austin police Chief Art Acevedo said.
Local officials carried out a similar effort at the beginning of the school year, he said. Acevedo said he also wanted to make officers visible near school campuses to allay parents’ fears after last week’s shootings.
“This way we get to address two issues with one initiative,” Acevedo said. “We take the safety of our citizens very seriously.”
Austin police will patrol at public elementary and private schools, school district officers will patrol high and middle schools, and deputies will patrol schools in unincorporated, Acevedo said.
The officers will not work overtime, he said.
Acevedo has said a significant number of Austin officers have received special training in how to handle a gunman who targets large areas and often doesn’t make demands but simply starts shooting.
“I’m confident we have the capabilities to respond in a very quick, rapid and overwhelming way to stop any instance in our city,” Acevedo said.
Round Rock schools also have taken “many steps to prepare for a variety of emergency situations to ensure that students and staff are safe and secure,” officials said in a statement. “District officials are regularly in contact with law enforcement officials and have coordinated with local emergency responders in developing emergency procedures.”
San Marcos schools officials also are assuring parents the safety of children is a priority.
“Our teachers and staff continue to train and retrain on emergency procedures,” Superintendent Mark E. Eads said in a statement. “With the assistance of our law enforcement officers we are closely reviewing the safety and security measures in place at all San Marcos CISD schools.”