The Houston Independent School District Police Department has developed a new Emergency Response Team designed to respond to potential crisis situations throughout the district.
The 10-member team will have specialized uniforms and equipment, allowing them to mobilize and deploy quickly when a crisis occurs.
“If there is an active shooter scene, we don’t have an hour to wait,” HISD Police Chief Paul Cordova said, noting that emergency assistance from external law enforcement agencies can take up to an hour. “What we need is to have the equipment and the personnel in the field ready to go at all times.”
The development of the team was one of six safety initiatives put into place for the 2018-2019 school year. Other district safety initiatives include increasing campus and district safety drills, establishing a Northeast area police substation, providing HISD police officers with standardized equipment, putting a strong emphasis on community policing, and developing an anti-bullying program.
The Emergency Response Team will be housed at the department’s northeast substation. All members must undergo a strict interview and selection process, which requires high scores on physical agility and firearm exams. Of the 10 positions, six spots have been filled, with recruitment efforts continuing for the remaining four.
“Six members is enough to get started with the team,” Cordova said, noting that recruitment efforts were ongoing. “We’re confident the officers who were selected are ready.”
HISD Police Sgt. Karl Brown serves as the team lead for the Emergency Response Team and noted that they would respond to the most critical situations.
“The district supports us and allows us to handle the high-priority, most severe threats to our district,” Brown said. “It’s an honor to serve. I am so proud of our new team. These guys are setting the standard.”