Arkansas Considers Adopting Unified Law Enforcement Response to School Shootings

Unified response would hopefully reduce confusion among officers and agencies responding to school shootings.

Arkansas Considers Adopting Unified Law Enforcement Response to School Shootings

Photo via Adobe, by Tomasz Zajda

There often is a lot of confusion when numerous law enforcement agencies respond to the chaos of school shootings. In an attempt to ensure all police responders are on the same page during a school active shooter crisis, the Arkansas School Safety Commission may recommend establishing a unified law enforcement response, reports the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

Who would actually provide the training has yet to be determined. Additionally, although the commission can make the recommendation, the state legislature would need to pass a law implementing the change.

Last month, Gov. Asa Hutchinson reinstated the commission in response to the May 24 mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, as well as the several other mass shootings that have recently occurred across the nation.

Fort Smith School Police Department Police Chief Bill Hollenbeck, who is also a member of the commission, also told the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette the commission should consider recommending school resource officers (SROs) be issued body armor, shields, and forcible entry tools so they can respond quickly to a crisis on campus. He also wants SROs to receive tactical training so they can engage a shooter if necessary.

Back in 2018, the commission was created, and it submitted 30 recommendations, one of which was that schools should have a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with local law enforcement agencies. The recommendations didn’t include anything on chain of command, although, according to Hollenbeck, most law enforcement agencies have already developed their policies and.

In 2020, guns became the leading cause of death among U.S. children and teens. Additionally, in 2021, active shooter attacks in the U.S. increased 52.5% compared to the previous year and 103.3% compared to 2018 and 2019.

About the Author

Robin Hattersley Gray
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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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