Texas DPS requests $1.2B active-shooter response training facility
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is requesting Texas lawmakers approve $1.2 billion in funding to build a full-time statewide law enforcement academy with a state-of-the-art active shooter response training facility. If approved, the first funding portion of $467 million would be part of the state’s 2024-2025 budget as the start of a six-year proposal over the next three budget cycles. The DPS intends to renovate the 200-acre Williamson County DPS Tactical Training Center complex in Florence into a new law enforcement academy.
The Williamson County site opened in 2003 and currently has a track, urban street grid simulating a residential or downtown area, a firing range, and classrooms. It does not currently have a live scenario facility to be able to train for an active shooter situation. The new training facility would include dormitories, a cafeteria, and other elements.
The facility will include the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) program, an active-shooter response training system developed two decades ago at Texas State University in San Marcos. ALERRT is the national standard for this type of response training. The Texas State University ALERRT center currently runs training sessions at the Williamson County complex, but a director of the program said there’s greater demand than availability for training across the state.
The proposal for the training facility comes after the Uvalde school shooting in May. Officers from several agencies took more than an hour to breach a classroom where a gunman left 19 students and two teachers dead. It is the deadliest school shooting in Texas history.
In June, state leaders transferred $50 million for bullet-resistant shields, $7 million for ALERRT training, and $3 million in travel reimbursements from surplus education funds.
It is not yet clear if DPS intends to seek federal funding for this project or if there would be a charge for law agencies outside Texas to use the facility. DPS also will need to analyze how much the annual operating costs would be after construction is complete.