NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Since Columbine, SWAT training is no longer reserved for an elite group of officers. Now first responders, including school police, are encouraged to be trained.
"Our local SWAT team trains here at one of the campuses every summer or one of the outlying community schools, either on spring break or during the summer break when it's unoccupied," Officer Johnwayne Valdez said. "We go through, get good maps of all the locations, where the possible point of entries are, not only for us, but also for the intruders as well."
The SWAT action is attributed to stopping the violence, not necessarily by brute force, but merely by their appearance. It happened that way in Newtown.
"It's been several times where instances where the bad guy, the suspect, knows the police are there and closing on them that they commit suicide to prevent a firefight with us," Valdez said.
Valdez says for most law officers alertness is no more heightened today than it was before Friday's tragedy.
"We're intense every time we train," Valdez said. "It doesn't make us ramped up just a little because some issue happened at a school somewhere in this country. We have to be very methodical in our training and also make sure we get the best quality training we can possibly get."
Valdez frequently patrols school hallways, but he avoids the word "routine." He says it's a dangerous mindset for any peace officer.
"If you're prepared for it at all times you can deal with it at all times," Valdez said. "Don't go to work thinking, well this is just going to be another day because it's not."