HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — The Hays County Sheriff’s Office said it applied for a state grant to get more bullet-resistant shields for the county.
It’s part of Gov. Greg Abbott’s Bullet-Resistant Shield Grant Program. Last month, the governor announced the Governor’s Public Safety Office (PSO) was accepting applications from law enforcement agencies for Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) travel assistance and the Bullet-Resistant Shield Grant Program for fiscal year 2023.
There was $3 million for travel expenses to send law enforcement officers to ALERRT active shooter training and $50 million for bullet-resistant shields.
The Hays County Sheriff’s Office is just one law enforcement agency that applied for the program.
Hays County Deputy Anthony Hipolito said while there’s no guarantee they’ll get approved for the grant, he is excited about the possibility of getting it.
“Funding is and will always continue to be an issue, but partnering with the state to be able to get these shields is huge,” Hipolito said.
It’s a tool that Hays CISD Instructor Alvis Maynard said is needed in more schools.
“That would make me feel more comfortable here knowing that the officers maybe not hesitate to come in and that they immediately have those shields,” Maynard said.
As the CTE Law Enforcement Instructor Maynard said he understands the difference they can make.
“It will help them breach a door they go in if there’s an active shooter. The more protection they can have, the better,” Maynard said.
His students agree.
“It could really give first responders more confidence to go into a situation,” Hays CISD freshman Jaslene Salazar said.
Hipolito said he doesn’t know how many shields the county could get. But if approved, he said once they get that number they’ll be able to figure out how to distribute them.
“Teaming up with the SROs, teaming up with our SWAT team, teaming up with our training academy and try to figure out the best way to strategically and tactically deploy those county wide,” Hipolito said.
Officers who can receive these shields must have either 16 hours of ALERRT training in the past two years or commit to attending in the next two years, the governor’s release said.
Hays CISD freshman Zoe Livingston said these shields would give law enforcement that added resource in dangerous situations.
“Officers having these shields… it’s a big thing to protect them,” Livingston said.
The governor’s office said these shields are for officers directly employed or contracted by school districts, as well as officers that may respond to school safety emergencies.