$2.3M funding OK’d to buy rifles, shields and ammunition for Houston school officers
The department will create policies and procedures to ensure the equipment is only used during an active shooter event or emergency situation
By Sarah Calams
HOUSTON — The Houston Independent School District has approved $2.3 million in funding for 200 rifles, 200 ballistic shields, rifle ammunition and two-way radios for the district’s 200 police officers. The decision comes a week after HISD Police Chief Pedro Lopez said his department was not adequately equipped to respond to an active shooter situation.
The motion passed with a 6-3 vote, but the decision was met with controversy. Some board members argued the decision would mean militarizing the district’s campuses, while others applauded the decision to spend more on police gear to protect the district’s teachers and students.
“I mentioned last week we’re not increasing the number of guns that we have for a particular reason,” HISD Superintendent Millard House told ABC13.com. “The bigger issue here is assuring that officers have all of the tools possible so that they can be as safe as possible and provide the kind of safety that we want them to provide for our campuses.”
Lopez told ABC13 that his department will create policies and procedures to ensure the equipment is only used during an active shooter event or emergency situation.
“The equipment we purchase that the board approved is mainly for active shooter incidents,” Lopez said. “Officers are not going to be walking around campuses with rifles slung across their back or their shoulders … or carrying shields.”
Due to supply chain issues, district officials said it could take three to six weeks to get the supplies to its officers.
“Our officers are ready to enter and will enter in the case of an active shooter, but this decision tonight will help us get the tools when we come across those obstacles, to break doors and break windows, we can get in and save lives faster than we could without the equipment,” Lopez told KHOU.com.