Texas police chief on armed teachers and school security: ‘We’re the communications system for our schools’

As state and local police officers scramble to find answers to prevent another tragedy, one law enforcement expert wants schools to be more aware of the potential before students head off to school.

In Texas, David Gracyk, the police chief of Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District, was more skeptical.

“We have a lot of debates on what to do and what we can do and what we can’t do, but let’s look at what we’re capable of,” Gracyk said, noting that an armed teacher would not necessarily be the answer.

Fox 4 News speaks with David Gracyk, chief of police for Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, who says his district makes all students and staff aware of the proper behaviors and actions they should take. https://t.co/AIXCYUqyZQ — FOX 4 NEWS (@FOX4) September 22, 2017

“We’re the communications system for our schools, so we are absolutely capable of learning from these tragedies and if we’re not, then we’re asking others to do our job for us,” he added.

On Wednesday, 24 people died and 10 others were wounded when 19-year-old James Hodgkinson opened fire on Republican congressional baseball practice. Hodgkinson had listed Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Trump’s former running mate, Gov. Mike Pence, as his heroes.

But Gracyk was not aware of Hodgkinson’s past and does not believe that contacting officials with concerns would have prevented any of the shootings.

To tackle this issue, Gracyk noted that, rather than contacting police, the district sends a robocall with information about dangerous behavior to all its students.

“When I first came on to this, if I can tell you, the first thing we said was, ‘We’re going to follow through and make sure that we make sure that that is the goal,’” Gracyk said.

Gracyk also pointed out that schools across the country did not receive warnings about the shooter.

“There are a lot of people out there that have issues that nobody knows about and that nobody’s hearing about. If you want to know what you are equipped to handle for the District and to provide these resources to the community, if you’re not going to use them, you should at least be aware of what you’re capable of,” he said.

There are even some school officials who would prefer having one less personnel available for security.

“There was a time, I think it was the 1970s, when you had one teacher, one custodian, one teacher, one food service person, one teacher assistant, one P.E. teacher, one principal. If we don’t have that, we’re never going to figure out how to solve this problem that we have with a whole lot of people,” said Garland Independent School District superintendent Donald Myers.

To Myers, removing one individual from duty is a compromise that no one wants to make.

“We’re dealing with numbers here. It’s impossible to put a person on every one of our campuses in every one of our locations,” Myers said.

Myers is also a former police officer who spent 33 years on the force and pointed out that police officers would also have the ability to lock down the school.

“To pull out one law enforcement officer, it’s almost impossible to get everybody together,” Myers said.

Fox 4 News spoke with Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who has voiced support for arming teachers and he believes that voluntary schools should not be forced to cooperate with similar legislation.

“This is not an option. It will not happen. I’m a conservative. I believe strongly in the constitutional rights of people and individuals,” Cruz said.

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