This story is part of a series of KXAN reports titled “Stop Mass Shootings,” providing context and exploring solutions around gun violence in the aftermath of the fatal Uvalde school shooting. We want our reports to be a resource for Texans, as well as lawmakers who meet a month after the events in Uvalde to discuss how the state should move forward. Discover all the “Stop Mass Shootings” stories by clicking here.
ROUND ROCK, Texas (Nexstar) – The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) is working to expand its marshal officer training this summer after the Uvalde school shooting killed 19 students and two teachers in May.
On Monday, TCOLE did active shooting simulations at Walsh Middle School in Round Rock.
These scenarios are part of school-based law enforcement and marshal training. They are designed for law enforcement and marshals to practice handling active fire situations, maintaining composure and providing first aid.
“Everyone dies today,” said one attendee acting as an active shooter as he walked through the doors of the college library.
Shots were fired and there were agitated cries of other attendees posing as students. Seconds after the simulation shooter entered the library, two school marshals rushed to arrest him.
The guns and bullets are fake, but the intensity is real.
As the simulation continues, the school police arrived after the marshals. From there, the marshals identified themselves.
“School Resource Officer,” one participant shouted, hands in the air, dropping to his knees in surrender.
The police who entered pretended not to know who an active threat was.
“Raise your hand,” shouted the police.
“You learn to control your emotions and your breathing,” said Dr. Benny Soileau, school marshal officer and Huffman ISD superintendent. “All those things that come with even watching a situation like this.”
Soileau went through similar training to Monday’s simulation.
“If you have a bad guy with a gun, you have to deal with it,” Soileau said.
- Complete Law Enforcement School Course #4064
- Complete Active Shooter Answer for School Law Enforcement Course #2195
- Obtain a Certificate of Proficiency in School Law Enforcement from TCOLE
- Have a current license to carry
- Approval by a governing body
- Take a psychological exam
- Complete the 80 hour school marshal course
- Submit School Marshal Appointment Form and Fee
- Full 16-hour renewal course every two years
Any employee of a school district can become an officer marshal.
“Some marshals have very little training to get into the program, some marshals have old military training, we see a lot of ex-law enforcement,” said Cullen Grissom, deputy chief of TCOLE.
After Uvalde, TCOLE has doubled the number of farrier training courses it offers from two to four this summer.
“There’s been increased interest, more calls to our office, more inquiries about what, at the district level, a school district needs to do to institute a marshals program,” Grissom said.
Currently, there are 256 marshals in the state in 62 districts. Those behind the program hope more people will sign up to boost those numbers.
“We know this moment can come and we want to be mentally prepared,” Soileau said.
The state pays for marshal officer training, however, a district must pay for travel to where it takes place.
It can take up to two months for a person following the program to obtain certification. There is no limit to the number of students a school can have.
TCOLE said it hasn’t changed any of its formations since Uvalde.