Lufkin Officers Take ALERRT

First responders are already trained to save lives, but some East Texas officers are getting 'Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training' or ALERRT. They're learning to address and stop an active shooter.

Sgt. David Thomas said, "These officers are learning a response to active shooters in school settings or industrial settings or large groups of people. An active shooter is someone who goes into a workplace and is determined on killing as many people as possible."

Most of the officers have years of experience in hostage, domestic, and other violent situations, but a lot of that training does not focus on active shooters.

Texas Ranger Pete Maskunas said, "This is a little more specialized than your general patrol- type training or even some tactical training, because the dynamic of what you're gonna have to do when you get in there is a little different."

ALERRT Active Shooter courses started after the Columbine tragedy in 1999. Two students gunned down 12 of their classmates and a teacher on their high school campus. The shooting forced law enforcement agencies to take a closer look at their response to active shooter situations.

"Officers had to stand back and wait for the SWAT team to get there and a lot of lives were lost because they had to wait - because of the old policies and the old training," said Sgt. Thomas. "So now, as soon as the officers get there they take action as if there wasn't a SWAT team to come at all."

The ALERRT Center is based out of Texas State University in San Marcos and paid for by a federal grant administered through Governor Perry's Criminal Justice Division.

Close to 5,000 police officers representing about 600 agencies from all over the United States have completed the training.