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El Paso Sheriff’s Office takes necessary precautions to avoid delayed response in active shooter situations

EL PASO, TX (KVIA) -- A recent Department of Justice report reveals law enforcement lacked urgency during the Uvalde School massacre. This prompts growing concerns about school safety protocols in our community. 

Some El Paso parents expressed fear, while other feel confident in school protocol. “There's always a loophole. And it's like you can never be 100% certain. So, like, you have to live with that fear and yeah, and it's the reality. So it's scary,” says Priscilla Banuelos, a parent. 

Commander Ryan Urrutia from the El Paso Sheriff's Department reassures the public that safety is their top priority. He says the department remains in close conversations with all local law enforcement and is aggressively seeking training for school resource officers in El Paso County and surrounding communities. 

Last summer, they trained at least 60 officers, “We brought the Texas State Center on School Safety and San Marcos here to El Paso. We brought the instructors here for three weeks to teach active shooter response, also to teach first responder medical programs.”

The El Paso Police Department says the have been conducting active shooting training since 1999, providing a statement for parents saying, “For worried parents, we want to reiterate the safety of all people in El Paso is our primary function. We will always take any threat at a school as being serious and evaluate them on a case-by-case basis.” 

The DOJ report indicates responding officers waited approximately 77 minutes before reaching the shooter. Urrutia emphasizes their training ensures a fast and effective response, “we want our staff to make sure our deputies, our law enforcement that comes in to help us to have the ability to have the confidence to handle these situations without direct guidance from a supervisor.”

Urrutia adds that they actively monitor social media threats and immediately initiate investigations if a potential threat is found. 

He invites the community to participate in “civilian response to active shooters,” an alert training. Those are held often at campuses, community events and the court house. 

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Isabella Martinez


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