TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — County law enforcement spoke Wednesday, June 15 about creating a collaborative response to active shooters in schools. The exact plan of action is unclear, but authorities wanted to reassure the community that they're working on it.
Many law enforcement agencies in Pima County are struggling with staffing shortages. Sheriff Chris Nanos says, the only way to fix that is to work together, especially in crisis scenarios.
“I might be down a couple hundred people, TPD might be down a few hundred people, that hurts," Nanos said. "But as all the law enforcement agencies, a force multiplier, we can lean on each other.”
This inter-agency collaboration started with the creation of the Pima Regional Critical Incident team in March. It’s a team of leaders from nine local law enforcement agencies.
“In my 32 years, the cooperation and collaboration between all the agencies is greater than it’s ever been," said Danny Denogean, Chief of Police in South Tucson.
After the Texas mass shooting, the team agreed to have a coordinated response to active shooters at schools. They’re still discussing exactly what that response will look like.
“No one department does this by itself, when these incidents occur, it's all hands on deck,” said John Noland, Chief of Police in Sahuarita.
The county already has an integrated network for communicating across all agencies in crisis scenarios. But the Sheriff hopes to take it a step further with technology that notifies local law enforcement of threats nearby, regardless of jurisdiction.
“You have your own apps and alerts for traffic and weather, amber alerts," Nanos said. "We want to do something like that for all law enforcement officers.”
On the preventative side of things: each agency has threat and behavioral assessment teams to monitor red flags among students. And they're asking parents to do the same.
“Pay attention this summer to what they’re doing on their cell phones, what they’re doing on their gaming systems,” said Chad Kasmar, Chief of Police in Tucson.
Authorities are also offering active shooter training for hundreds of parents and school personnel before classes begin.
Perla Shaheen is a reporter for KGUN 9. Perla graduated in May 2020 from the University of California, Berkeley, where she majored in Political Science. Share your story ideas and important issues with Perla by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.