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SAPD takes command if a school shooting were to happen in San Antonio

San Antonio Police Chief William McManus
Joey Palacios | Texas Public Radio
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San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said Tuesday his department will take command if they respond to an active shooter at a school in Bexar County.

“If there's an active shooter situation that would occur in any of these schools SAPD would be in command,” McManus said, adding that this would be the case both for schools inside city limits and elsewhere in the county if they were called in.

McManus said he doesn’t want to judge the law enforcement response in Uvalde because he wasn’t there, but his department’s protocol for responding to an active shooter is clear.

“If we wait, people lose their (lives), and so (the) first officer on the scene is required to go in,” McManus said. “It’s not ‘maybe.’ It’s not ‘if.’ First officer is required. And every officer thereafter.”

McManus also said he plans to set up a meeting with San Antonio superintendents to talk about school security in response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary that killed 19 students and two teachers, and wounded 17 others.

Spokespeople with the Northside and North East school districts said their school police departments don’t have formal agreements about who takes command during an active shooter incident, but that they would defer to SAPD as the larger agency.

“Based on the severity of the incident and the availability of resources to the larger agency, NISD PD would defer command,” said Northside spokesperson Barry Perez in an email.

San Antonio ISD spokesperson Laura Short said SAISD has a memorandum of understanding with SAPD allowing the district to request assistance from SAPD's Special Operations Units.

If a request is made and SAPD agrees to respond, SAPD will assume command and control of the scene," Short said in an email. "SAISD PD will support and assist the SAPD Special Operations Units as directed by the ranking SAPD officer at the scene."

This story has been updated to include a comment from SAISD.

Texas Public Radio is supported by contributors to the Education News Desk, including H-E-B Helping Here, Betty Stieren Kelso Foundation and Holly and Alston Beinhorn.