DALLAS (CBS11) – A new federal grant will give police departments more opportunity to train their officers in active shooter situations.
“That excites me,” said Dallas Officer Sasha Biglow, who’s been on the job for eight months patrolling the southeast division. “More money for me to do my job better, I mean I’m all for it.”
She says what her fellow officers went through July 7, when five were shot and killed and 14 others were injured, is a situation she too must be prepared for.
“If I could do this type of training more often during the year, that gets into muscle memory and now I’m doing everything I’m supposed to do on point, where as when we do it once a year, it’s almost like re-learning it,” said Officer Biglow.
The grants are possible after President Obama signed into law the Police Act, introduced by Texas Senator John Cornyn, who got to see the training in person here in Dallas.
“Even though they may not have trained together, should one of these scenarios break out, they can quickly work together to minimize the threat, eliminate it, and save lives that can be saved,” said Sen. Cornyn.
Chief David Brown says this is key to saving lives of their officers and citizens.
“This type of training is critical to delivering excellent police service,” said Chief Brown.
The law also provides integrated training for firefighters and paramedics.
Dallas Fire-Rescue began its training in March.
“If people are dying or bleeding out on the ground because they don’t have medical services they need on an emergency basis. That’s obviously a serious, serious problem,” said Sen. Cornyn. “Up until now, our first responders and emergency medical services in Dallas and elsewhere could not train using these grant funds. They were simply prohibited by law.”
But it’s not just training.
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick said Tuesday he wants the state help police departments pay for new, lightweight bullet proof vests that can withstand a 223 caliber round — something that he says could have saved officers in Dallas last month.
“I want to take it on as a state responsibility, shared with local law enforcement budgets, cities and counties, but I want the state to step up to guarantee that our officers, when they hit the street, and are out on patrol, they have the best technology that there is to offer,” said Lt. Gov. Patrick.
Chief Brown agrees. “We absolutely have to have this type of protection for our officers to keep them alive in case we face similar incidents like we saw on July 7.”
The Lt. Governor says he will hold a meeting in August with law enforcement agencies from across the state to hear what they need.
Officer Biglow says it’s something she and her colleagues think about everyday while out on patrol. “This is the job I chose to do and I want to do it the best of my ability.”
The Lt. Governor also proposed giving property tax breaks to spouses of fallen first responders and wants the state to permanently mark July 7 as a day to pay tribute to first responders who lost their lives on duty.
Mr. Patrick made his comments at the Dallas Police Association where he presented a check for $45,000 to the Assist the Officer Foundation Tuesday morning.
He said the first $5,000 came from him and his wife, and that he used the website Crowd Rise to take donations from the public.
Patrick said he wanted to do something for officers after coming to Dallas right after the shooting late that night. “I’ll never forget that night at 3am in the hospital. I will never forget visiting with the families, the wives, and children. That has left an impression on me that will stay with me the rest of my life.”
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