New Approach To School Safety
In East Montgomery County, they aren't waiting for a mass school shooting to do something. Law enforcement officers now have a new tool that can help them respond to such an incident. It's called the Rapid Response Card. The 5x7 cards include full color photos, maps and diagrams of each of the 26 schools in East Montgomery County. County spokeswoman Jamie Nash tells KTRH they will be an invaluable weapon for officers. "(The cards) even have the latitude and longitude listed if they need aerial support, and they have a map so (officers) can go into the school if they're getting calls from inside the school directing them to the shooters or to injured people."
The Rapid Response Cards were the brainchild of Texas DPS Sgt. Derek Leitner and Trooper Eric Lopez. "They're both fathers and citizens of this community, and they've been watching the news and seeing all the shooting incidents, and they were concerned about something like that happening here," Nash says. After sharing the idea with Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon and Justice of the Peace James Metts, Ligon and Metts agreed to finance the project. This week, about 150 sets of the cards were delivered to law enforcement officers, with a goal of eventually having a set in every patrol car in east Montgomery County. Nash also believes the cards send a signal to would-be attackers. "Hopefully, it will be a deterrent if anyone is thinking about it, just to know law enforcement will have the upper hand."
Of course, there is the chance the cards could fall into the wrong hands. For that reason, Leitner and Lopez safeguarded them by making sure the cards do not contain any names, personal information, or confidential school information that could be used by someone to compromise a campus. The bottom line for the community, according to Nash, is being ready for a shooting incident before it happens. "Everybody thinks it's never gonna happen in their community, but you have to be prepared. This is a proactive approach."