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SAPD, school police chiefs work on tragedy response plan

SAPD Chief William McManus shares tragedy response plans with school police chiefs

SAN ANTONIO - San Antonio Police Chief William McManus held a hastily-scheduled meeting Wednesday morning to compare notes and response plans with police chiefs of local school districts.

McManus said he called the meeting in response to the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., Friday that killed 27 people, including 20 young children.

"Everybody's feeling the effects of that horrible, horrible tragedy," McManus said.

Instead of just feeling the effects, though, McManus wants local law enforcement agencies to be ready to handle that type of situation if it should happen here.

McManus spent the morning discussing plans with police chiefs assigned to protect students from the elementary school to university levels. McManus said the goal is to have everyone on the same page when it comes to the response.

"That everybody's aware of everybody else's plans, there are points of contact, there is a unified command," McManus said. "We are going to great lengths to make sure that we are coordinated as one body, all the law enforcement jurisdictions in the city are coordinated."

Reporters were allowed to listen in to the meeting's opening comments. However, they were escorted out once the discussion turned to specific details of the plans.

McManus said part of his reason for inviting the media to the meeting was to help put the public's mind at ease.

"We've been getting a lot of calls," McManus said. "We want that message conveyed to everyone that has a stake in this, and that's everyone in the city."

McManus said having the agencies work together is a goal he actually had already begun working toward.

Coincidentally, McManus held a training meeting in November with some school district police chiefs to discuss plans for responding to a campus shooting. However, he said he failed to include anyone from the university level. This time around, they also were invited to participate.

McManus said his efforts will continue Thursday morning, when he will meet with representatives from Region 20, the umbrella agency that oversees all of the region's school districts.

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