Southwest ISD police push for integrated active shooter training for responding agencies during emergency calls

SWISD officers undergo more active shooter training drills this week

Southwest Independent School District police officers have been receiving more active shooter drills training this summer as they prepare for a new school year.

VON ORMY, Texas – Southwest Independent School District police officers have been receiving more active shooter drills training this summer as they prepare for a new school year.

On Tuesday, a group of Southwest ISD police officers cleared the hallways at Southwest Legacy High School in Von Ormy.

The school is currently empty, but the training is part of their ongoing active shooter drills that officers have been practicing with Bexar County Sheriff’s Office deputies, San Antonio police officers and Texas DPS troopers.

“The primary goal of alert training is to make sure officers understand and know what to do in these types of events. So we want to commit this to muscle memory,” said Southwest ISD Police Chief Richard Palomo.

Palomo said the district has always been proactive about security. He has 20 officers responsible for the safety of 20 schools and more than 13,000 students.

The chief said there’s a lot more urgency to ensure officers know what’s expected in light of the recent tragedy in Uvalde.

“They understand that the community and trust us with the care of their child, and they take that very seriously. And they understand that training is just one aspect of keeping not only students safe but staff safe as well,” he said.

Palomo said there have been additional layers of physical security added to school campuses. He’s also calling for an integrated training exercise involving agencies called to assist his district in an emergency.

Palomo said officers are trained to recognize Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs, trauma. He said the district takes a no-nonsense approach to social media threats or concerns.

“If a kid posts [on social media], and we get wind of it, we’re gonna go knock on your door to make sure you’re OK. And if we have to, we’re going to take them to the hospital, get them treatment,” Palomo said.

Palomo is meeting with area state representatives this week to discuss some suggestions he thinks might help make a difference. The recommendations include calling on all districts in the state to use the same Standard Response Protocol, integrated training among area law enforcement agencies that would respond to a school district, and more resources for mental health.

“We want to make sure that all our officers, regardless of whether you’re a county authorized officer or a state officer -- that you know exactly what your role is in how you’re going to respond to these types of events,” Palomo said.

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Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.