AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Recent active shooter situations across the country have caused Texas state leaders to push for more training for law enforcement to prepare for these types of events.
U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) drafted the POLICE Act, which was signed into law last month, providing federal funding for active shooter response training.
This grant will go toward police, fire and emergency medical services to better prepare should this occur in Amarillo or elsewhere in the panhandle.
Cornyn met with Amarillo, Canyon, Randall County and Potter County public safety leaders Thursday to discuss how POLICE Act funding will help prepare all first responders for active shooter situations.
Safety agencies representing these areas also put on a demonstration of how they currently handle these events.
"What we need to do is to make sure the training is more widely available," said Cornyn. "That local jurisdictions that simply can't afford it have access to it, but even more importantly I think the sort of integrated training that you already have here in the panhandle where the emergency medical service comes in and works with law enforcement once the shooting stops - that's an important part of the training that's available."
While agencies like the Randall County Fire Department have already been training their personnel for active shooter situations, they've had to pay for the training out of pocket.
With this grant, they'll be able to reach more first responders.
"This is a new battle field for the fire service, and while we're up for the task, we do need the training," said James Amerson, Randall County Fire Chief. "It's a different tactic and strategy for us. It is good for us in the fact that we're working closely with law enforcement developing close relationships to work together in hazardous conditions."
Funding for this training has never been provided for fire and emergency medical services before.
Cornyn and our area leaders agree their services are just as important as law enforcement when it comes to handling active shooter cases.
"It's one thing to stop the killing, its another one to stop the dying," said Cornyn and several other local leaders.
Those that met with Cornyn Thursday included Amarillo's Mayor Paul Harpole, the Amarillo and Randall County Fire Chiefs, the Canyon Police Chief, Potter and Randall County Sheriffs and deputies, the 42nd District Attorney, and representatives from DPS, WTAMU Police and the Amarillo Police Department.
POLICE Act funding will train more officers, firefighters, EMS personnel, and even citizens on how to handle active shooters.
Training will constantly evolve to keep the panhandle up to date.