In partnership with FISD, the FPD issued “go bags” to 25 school resource officers at all middle schools and all high schools.
The use of body cameras has been expanded for use by officers on all high school campuses.
The “go bags” are active shooter kits that contain items such as tourniquets and bandages designed for traumatic injuries as well as tactical gear such as shoulder straps used to drag a person to safety.
FPD Lt. Bob Fortenberry said school shootings are rare, but the department wants to make sure its officers have the right equipment if there were an active shooter on campus.
“You don’t want to be unprepared for something just because you think it’ll never happen here,” Fortenberry said. “If we have the ability to plan ahead and be prepared for something, then it’s a good idea to do that.”
The bags are the latest tool FPD has used to help equip SROs.
Last year, the police department began piloting the use of body cameras and will continue to expand the program this year.
Only officers assigned to the high schools use the cameras but Fortenberry said the hope is to expand the program to the rest of the officers.
The cameras will not be running all of the time, Fortenberry said. The officers will activate cameras when they are engaged in an enforcement action or if a situation begins to escalate.Officers can also activate the cameras if conducting a criminal interview.
A research study conducted by the Police Executive Research Forum and U.S. Department of Justice during the past few years gathered information from more than 250 police departments throughout the country that used body-worn cameras.
According to the study the benefits of body-worn cameras include perceived increased transparency of police actions, reduced complaints and additional ways to provide evidence for prosecution.
School officials said in a news release they welcome the additional tool for officers to keep students safe.
“Students are already accustomed to security cameras in the common areas of the building, so the use of these cameras will probably feel pretty standard to the student body,” said Doug Zambiasi, the district’s assistant superintendent for support services.
SROs are employees of the police department, with salaries being a shared cost between the city and the school district.