Following the release of a critical incident review of the 2022 Robb Elementary shooting from the Department of Justice in January, Eanes ISD Chief of Police Matt Greer and Khristof Oborski, Westlake High School safety officer, provided active shooter preparedness updates during the board of trustees study session May 7.

The gist

While the DOJ’s report included seven sections consisting of significant failures, recommendations and implications, Greer said EISD is focusing on three of those sections:
  • Tactics and equipment
  • Leadership, incident command and coordination
  • School safety and security
Tactics and equipment

Greer said changes to police tactics came after the Columbine High School shooting in 1999. First responders are now instructed to go toward the violent disorder—bypassing injured victims if necessary—without waiting for backup from tactical teams.

At Robb, Greer said officers initially moved toward the gunfire, but after encountering it, they retreated and repositioned to a barricaded subject situation.

“An active shooter with access to victims should never be considered and treated as a barricaded subject,” Greer said. “We knew there were still victims in there; there were still calls coming in from those classrooms. That should have never happened.”

Greer added that EISD officers are trained to eliminate the threat, are regularly trained on active shooter best practices and are provided all the necessary equipment to respond to critical incidents.

The force will also partake in a full-scale active shooter exercise with local agencies this summer. Oborski, who was officially sworn in as a Westlake High School safety officer during the meeting, will coordinate tactical training for officers.

Leadership, incident command and coordination

At Robb, Greer said leadership from responding agencies failed to establish a command and control structure, and no officer was recognized as the incident commander throughout the shooting. EISD officers are trained on both.

Additionally, EISD has adopted the National Incident Management System, and officers are trained on the Incident Command System, which is incorporated into not just emergencies but other planned district events, such as football games, Greer said.

An active drill threat and tabletop exercises will take place this summer and involve EMS, fire and other law enforcement agencies, plus administrators, principals and maintenance and operations staff.

“In a situation, we have to be a team,” Greer said. “What’s going on at the campus as far as tactical response is really important, but the other response components are communication: communication to parents, reunification. We have to all practice this together because everybody in the district in a critical incident is going to have a role.”

School safety and security

Greer said school safety encompasses things like door locks and maintenance, drills, vestibules to create secure entry points, and visitor management.

Per EISD policy, Greer said employees and students are trained to always keep all exterior doors closed and locked during regular school hours and to keep classroom doors in the locked position.

Greer added that the district's Westlake Watch program is a useful tool, giving students and staff the ability to anonymously report something concerning.

Quote of note

“I think what happens in this case is a lack of confidence. [Robb] officers were met with a threat and didn’t have the confidence that they believed that they could push through and end that threat,” Oborski said. “That’s my goal as part of the training staff, is to make sure that they have the confidence and know their equipment, that they can win that fight.”