LITTLE ROCK | Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced today the launch of a new school safety training initiative for school districts and law enforcement agencies to help educators and emergency responders better prepare for active threats on campuses.
Agents with the Attorney General’s Special Investigations Division will offer a number of specialized training courses, all at no cost to school employees and law enforcement officials, McDaniel said at a news conference at his office.
“As a law enforcement official and as a father, it’s important to me that we do everything we can to make sure that our State’s children are safe while they are at school,” McDaniel said. “These training programs improve the safety of our children by instructing teachers, administrators and emergency responders about how to protect and save lives in the event of an active threat on campus.”
Special Agents Tony Allen and Jeremiah Terrell will offer several types of training based on a curriculum developed at Texas State University. School employees are taught how to “Avoid, Deny, and Defend” in active-shooter situations, meaning that participants learn to first attempt to avoid danger, then deny entry to a classroom or building, and ultimately, defend themselves if necessary.
Law enforcement officers will receive Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Techniques, or ALERRT, training. Those training programs focus on engagement with active shooters and on teaching first responders how to treat victims in the critical time before additional medical help arrives.
“Some private companies charge employers $500 per person to attend courses like these,” McDaniel said. “We are glad to be able to provide such critical and valuable training at no cost to educators and emergency responders.”
McDaniel thanked Rep. Andrea Lea, R-Russellville, who approached him last year with a proposal to add a school safety component to the role of the Special Investigations Division. Lea sponsored Act 228 of 2014, which enabled the Attorney General to hire two additional officers who will conduct the training courses.
Partners in the training initiative who attended today’s news conference included Rep. Lea, R-Russellville; Chris Thyer, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas; Arkansas Education Commissioner Tony Wood; Ken Jones, director of the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy; and Dr. Cheryl May, director of the University of Arkansas Criminal Justice Institute.