AUSTIN (KXAN) - Across the country, school districts are operating under heightened security following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School Friday. Schools in Central Texas are following suit. Austin Police were patrolling school zones Monday morning and will continue for the rest of the week.
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said he department is taking measures in response to the Newtown, Conn., school shooting and in response to parents' concerns in Austin. He said the police department -- and he personally -- got calls from parents asking for presence around schools this week.
So APD officials made sure that happened, and they had high visibility Monday morning,
APD focused mainly on elementary schools, while AISD police patrolled around middle and high schools. On the heels of the shooting Friday, it was practically and immediate response from local law enforcement.
"School is a safe place. It's a safe haven, and when you think about parents not being able to see them again, not being able to drop them off in the mornings, it made me very sick to my stomach," said Acevedo.
He says he feels APD and other local agencies with whom they work are taking the right measures when it comes to being prepared and training for active shooter situations. Acevedo says they didn't need it, but the Connecticut school shooting was affirmation.
"We have developed the appropriate capabilities. Newtown reassured me that those proactive developments and enhancements are absolutely the right thing to do," said Acevedo.
Monday morning before 9 a.m. Pflugerville Police responded to a report of a suspicious person on the grounds of Pflugerville High School. Students were sent to a safe location, but following a police investigation, they quickly gave the all-clear and students were back in class. The heightened sense of caution in and around schools doesn't surprise police. They too are taking a step back and looking at how tragedies like Newtown can be prevented.
"I really believe that we can protect the rights of citizens to bear arms, but at the same time take steps to make sure that only people of a sane mind and good character possess firearms," Acevedo said.
APD and AISD will continue their increased patrols through Thursday, the last day before schools go on break.
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