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Training for the Unthinkable

Trinity Police Department Host an Anti-Terrorism/School Siege Seminar on University Campus.

By Russell Guerrero ’83

For an anti-terrorism/school siege seminar held at Trinity, the Bexar County Sheriff's Office brought two resources ready to be used during a crisis situation: an armored SWAT vehicle (left) and a negotiations and tactical truck (right).
August 2010 – In an age when schools are no longer immune from the threat of large scale violence, the Trinity University Police Department has been constantly training on how to respond to a crisis situation. The most recent example was hosting a seminar reviewing the lessons learned from a school shooting in Russia.

For two days in August, the Trinity Police Department, along with the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, held an anti-terrorism seminar for authorities from other sheriff’s departments, municipal police departments, and police departments from local schools and area hospitals.

The focus of the seminar was a review of a school shooting tragedy that occurred in Beslan, Russia in 2004, when terrorists took more than 1,100 people hostage.  The standoff ended three days later after 300 hostages had been killed, many of them children.

“The purpose of this training seminar is to look back at the school shooting– the good, the bad, and the ugly– and see how the police responded,” said Paul Chapa, director of Trinity’s Police Department.

Along with studying the Beslan tragedy, the seminar gave police officers the opportunity to compare response strategies and identify resources that are available when dealing with a situation such as a shooting.

Law enforcement officers from around the region attended the anti-terrorism seminar hosted by the Trinity Police Department and the Bexar County Sheriff's Office. The seminar focused on the lessons learned from a school shooting in Russia.

For example, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office brought three mobile resources to Trinity: a crime scene and forensic unit housed inside a van, an armored SWAT vehicle, and, the sheriff’s newest addition, a negotiations and tactical truck. All ready to respond to a crisis.

For Chapa, the anti-terrorism seminar was the latest opportunity to bring additional training to Trinity. His experience at other universities in dealing with bomb threats and shooting threats has taught him that being prepared is the key to handling a critical situation.  

“There are many different concerns you have to deal with, decisions that have to be made that could affect the outcome of the situation, whether it be an active shooter, a fire, or a chemical spill,” said Chapa.

The seminar also gave Chapa a chance to strengthen Trinity’s partnerships with the  Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, the San Antonio Police Department, and the F.B.I.

By collaborating, the separate agencies can learn how to work together in responding quickly and effectively to a crisis. 

“We are all dealing with the same issues,” said Chapa. 

 


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