Efforts Underway to Better Arm Santa Fe Police Officers

Donated rifles and a fundraising effort for tactical gear are the latest responses to a school shooting in May that left 10 people dead

Deputies from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office on the scene of Santa Fe High School, where a shooting occurred in May.


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Since a deadly shooting at Santa Fe High School in May, school districts across Texas have been beefing up security. Now, with the new school year approaching, there’s an effort underway to give Santa Fe police stronger guns and gear.

The school board at Santa Fe ISD has accepted a gift of rifles, ammo and training for its officers, as the Houston Chronicle reports:

The weapons and training, valued at about $20,220 were offered by a group of community members in the wake of a mass shooting in the district’s sole high school, which left 10 dead and 13 injured. District Spokeswoman Patti Hanssard said those who donated the firearms wanted to remain anonymous.

Santa Fe ISD Police Chief Walter Braun said the AR-15s would be custom built for officers’ patrols.

“This is only for full-time staff,” Braun said. “We’re not outfitting everyone.”

Meanwhile, the police union in Houston has partnered with the local League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) chapter to help officers in Santa Fe raise money for tactical gear like ballistic shields and helmets.

At a Tuesday event promoting that effort, Santa Fe’s police chief Jeff Powell said small departments like his often have tight budgets for weapons.

“It’s probably pretty usual for the officer to have to purchase their own weapon,” he said.

Powell said the community in Santa Fe is a bit anxious about school starting again. He acknowledged his own kids, students in the district, are feeling that way.

“For me personally, you just have to trust in God and understand that if you let it defeat you, then we’re all going to be worse,” he said.

Santa Fe ISD is planning a variety of enhanced security measures before classes start this fall, including the installation of metal detectors at all of the district’s schools.

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