AISD Police Chief: Officers constantly train for lockdown - | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

AISD Police Chief: Officers constantly train for lockdown

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Late Friday afternoon, hours after the lockdown at Reagan High, AISD Police Chief Eric Mendez got to sit down with FOX 7, take a deep breath and reflect on the events of the day.

He says his officers are constantly training for things like this.

He can think of at least two lockdown situations in the district in just the last couple of weeks.

"They're never easy, right? Because you have hundreds of individuals who at any minute, change how the plan goes. Cause you plan, and when you plan and you prepare and you train for these incidents, you don't always have the luxury of 1,200 students on campus," Mendez said.

He says the students and teachers train too.

"They do drills. They practice lockdowns. So when it happens, it's not something foreign to the students and the staff, they know exactly what they're supposed to do," Mendez said.

Ken Zarifis taught school for 12 years. Now he's president of the AISD teachers union "Education Austin" and is still an active part of keeping schools safe.

"Just a year ago we looked at the district plan and I was on a committee that worked on that. We went piece by piece to make sure that we were covering all the bases," Zarifis said.

Both Zarifis and Mendez wouldn't go into detail about what teachers are specifically instructed to do in an active shooter situation but Zarifis says teachers have an important role.

"When you're in an emergency situation and you have a lockdown going on, the last thing a teacher wants to do is to establish fear or panic or anything like that. You want to make it as calm and as normal as possible. While still being honest," Zarifis said.

Friday morning a lot of the emotion was actually outside the school as concerned parents played the waiting game.

"The problem is while we're sitting over there panicking, they're just sitting over there shooting the breeze and stuff and you know it kind of bothers us a little bit. You've got to show more concern," said parent Rob Coleman.

Chief Mendez says the reason why parents aren't let onto campus is because they want to make sure the students are safe first. He wants parents to know they're taking extreme measures to ensure the safety of the students.

"While I can relate to why a parent would want to know right away, just know that we are working diligently to get the situation safe and under control and to provide that information as quickly as we can in a timely manner," Mendez said

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