LAMPASAS, Texas (KXAN) - Every second and every inch could be the difference between life and death when a gunman begins firing.
With the Aurora, Colo., theater tragedy fresh in everybody's minds, several officers in the Central Texas area took part in the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT program) to learn how to end a shooting spree.
The training session was scheduled prior to the shooting in Aurora, but the real-life example only adds to the importance.
"There is a .1 percent chance you will get a call like that in your lifetime," said Cpl. Tommy Villanueva with San Marcos Police Department. "But it can happen and if it does happen on your watch, what are you going to do help stop the problem?"
ALERRT was created in 2002 in response to the Columbine High School shooting in Littleton, Colo, which happened on April 20, 1999. ALERRT began as a partnership between San Marcos police and the Hays County Sheriff's Office to be prepared in case a shooting situation occurs.
"There are people out there and all they want to do is kill people," said Villanueva. "We are trying to empower the officers to distract and neutralize the threat."
Training is taking place at Lampasas High School this week as officers pay special attention to each step, breath, and glance they take when they enter a building where a gunman is present.
"We show reenactments of videos from Columbine and how helpless civilians were," said Villanueva.
But aside from the tactical training, ALERRT tries to mentally prepare the officers for the situation.
"This may be the day when you have to put your life on the line. If you are not willing to do that, this job is not for you," he said.
As many as 40,000 officers have taken part in ALERRT training since its creation.
ALERRT is headquartered at Texas State University in San Marcos.
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