Valley Police Department Trained for Active Shooter Situation
SAN JUAN – The mass shooting in Las Vegas is a reminder to local law enforcement that an event like this can happen anywhere.
San Juan Police Chief Juan Gonzalez said because of its unpredictable nature, it's difficult to prepare for an active shooter incident. That doesn't keep them from training.
The black screen recording disorienting flashes and voices in distress is a glimpse. Innocent people were caught by surprise, gunfire falling from the sky.
This can happen anywhere. Gonzalez said, "These incidents can happen in the Rio Grande Valley."
Gonzalez said the Law Enforcement Emergency Regional Response Team prepares for the worst. Just recently, they attended a SWAT conference studying shootings like this one in Las Vegas.
Officers learn lessons from each event. They're not the only ones paying attention.
Active shooters also learn from each other. He compares Las Vegas to the shooting in Dallas in 2016.
"Exactly as what happened in Dallas. Many felt that the active shooter was in a high-rise building because he was masquerading the sound of gunfire in the large buildings that were there. That's exactly what happened here," said Gonzalez.
Concerts with large crowds can and do become targets. They've been training in a place that hosts large crowds often in South Padre Island.
Gonzalez explains, "To make sure that concert goers, event-organizers, people attending large-scale events which happens a lot in that area. For us to make sure that we're prepared, we've trained our snipers to make sure that we provide that over watch security for them.”
A multi-agency team has been training twice a month for the past six months.
Gonzalez said they also work with state and federal agencies in emergencies. They hope this cooperation will be ready should they ever be called.
The San Juan Police Department is also submitting a request for 50 rifle-resistant body armor plates. It's part of a grant that was created as a response to the Dallas shooting last year.
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