EDINBURG – The Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District Police Department recently hosted an active shooter response training session at Harwell Middle School in Edinburg.

“We want to be prepared for any type of active shooter and the best way to prepare is to train,” said ECISD Police Department Chief Ricardo Perez Jr. “We are the only school district in Hidalgo County and in South Texas that has a fully active SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team with 16 SWAT members, including a tactical medic. We can respond anywhere throughout the district, because our SWAT officers are already on duty working.”

Edinburg CISD police officers and the Edinburg Police Department conducted the training sessions with other law enforcement agencies to better prepare first responders in the event of an active shooter.

“I want to reassure the parents that our police department has different departments that keep our students safe,” Perez. “We have officers on campus. We have security officers and staff that are trained for lockdown situations. We have an active SWAT team that will respond at a moment’s notice if there’s an active shooter.”

Perez said that the district’s police department consists of approximately 120 team members, including 81 police officers and 30 security guards.

“They’re already prepared. We have the equipment to respond to any calls for concern,” he said.

During the two-day training session, ECISD officers discussed the importance of these types of exercises with members of the Edinburg Police Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety.

“It’s very instrumental for us to train with our local law enforcement agencies. If there is a concern and these agencies respond, they’re familiar with the geographical layout of the campuses,” Perez said. “They’ve worked with our SWAT team, so we can work in conjunction together to eliminate the threat.”

The Edinburg CISD Police Department conducts about a dozen training exercises a year to better prepare its officers and security guards.