The Donna ISD Police Department always looks for opportunities to help its officers prepare for any possible scenario — big or small.
Just recently, DISD’s police force teamed up with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to train its men and women in blue for an active-shooter situation. The drills took place at Runn Elementary during the summer break.
DISD Police Chief Daniel Walden said this is the first time his department hosted these exercises with CBP. He said it is important for federal and local law enforcement to practice together. “It’s an eight-hour training to prepare our officers for an active-shooter incident,” Walden said. “An incident like this doesn’t have to happen at a school. A school is a setting where it can happen, but it can happen anywhere that there are a lot of civilians, so we need to be prepared.”
Walden said that if an active-shooter situation was to happen at Runn Elementary, DISD’s closest backup would likely be CBP officers stationed at the Donna/Rio Bravo International Bridge located just down the road from the campus.
“If something was to happen at this school, these people who are training here with us may actually respond here,” Walden said. “That’s why it’s important that all the different agencies that are within this area get the training so that everyone will respond in the same manner and be able to help.”
Walden said that DISD must be prepared. “With all the active-shooting incidents that have occurred in schools throughout the United States, we have to be prepared,” Walden said. “We have to be proactive not reactive to these type of situations. The only way to do that is training under stress.”
DISD employees posed as students and the shooter during the training. The trainees used guns with rubber rounds to make the incident as real as possible. “Realistic training is as close as you can get to the real thing,” Walden said. “If you don’t train under stress, you will not react under stress. Putting an officer under stress and under fire will teach them to react in a real situation. It also allows for mistakes to be corrected and avoided when an incident really happens.”
All DISD police went through the active shooter drills. “We are putting all of our officers through this training, so we’re hoping that it will provide peace of mind to our DISD community,” Walden said. “We’re going the extra mile to make sure our officers are trained properly for safety. That’s our number one priority within our schools.”