The Texas State ALERRT Training Facility, provides active shooter emergency training to first responders.
Photo by Elza Taurins

Texas State’s Texas State’s Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center received an $8.7 million Community Outreach Policing Services grant by the U.S. Department of Justice Nov. 1 to provide active shooter emergency training to first responders.

The grant will fund the in-person, multi-disciplinary and scenario-based training of 15,000 first responders this year, in addition to the 9,000 people who received training in 2017. ALERRT currently offers 14 courses, all taught by veteran SWAT specialists with experience in active shooter response and police training.

Pete Blair, executive director of the ALERRT Center, said on top of training, the grant will also help develop online resources such as online training and classes.

“All the training that we provide to first responders is provided at no cost to the agencies that are receiving the training,” Blair said. “So it’s entirely grant funded, which allows us to reach a lot of places that don’t have the funding to afford to put on their own training.”

Sen. John Cornyn stated in a press release the Protecting Our Lives through Initiating COPS Expansion Act, a bill co-authored by Cornyn and signed into law in July 2016, allows law enforcement and emergency personnel to be trained in active shooter situations through the use of COPS grants.

“Because we rely on first responders to keep our communities safe, it is critical that we provide them with the tools they need to do their jobs,” Sen. Cornyn stated. “This grant will allow Texas State’s ALERRT Program to provide the most cutting-edge training to law enforcement, fire, and EMS to respond to active shooter situations across the country. I thank the Trump Administration for recognizing the ALERRT Program’s success and usefulness in keeping Americans safe.”

Created in 2002, the ALERRT Center has provided active shooter response training to more than 130,000 law enforcement and fire officials nationwide and has been awarded more than $72 million in federal and state funding. In 2013, the ALERRT Center was named the National Standard in Active Shooter Response Training by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“Training for first responders to take swift and effective action in active shooting situations is critically important,” Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio stated in a press release. “We can mitigate the loss of life in these horrific incidents by providing resources to better equip first responders and prepare community members, local law enforcement, and local government leaders. The Department of Justice fully supports the brave first responders who risk their own lives to protect the safety of our children, colleagues, and community members.”

For more information on the Texas State ALERRT center, visit their website.

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