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U.S. Has 'Patchwork Approach' to Training Police On Active Shooters

No states mandate annual active shooter training for police officers, according to an analysis by The Texas Tribune, ProPublica and FRONTLINE. In comparison, at least 37 states require such training in schools, typically on a yearly basis. This means that decisions about active shooter training are often left to individual school districts and law enforcement departments, creating a patchwork approach in which some proactively provide such instruction and others do not.

The news organizations investigated the Uvalde, Tex., school shooting and found critical gaps in preparedness between children and law enforcement. About 30% of the 116 state and local officers who responded in May 2022 did not get active shooter training after graduating from police academies. Of those who had, many received such instruction only once in their careers. About a dozen states increased training requirements after the Uvalde shooting, but many continue to fall short of what police training experts say is needed. Only Texas and Michigan have laws requiring all officers to complete active shooter training after the police academy. Other states require training only for school police, as Texas did before the Uvalde shooting, and only two of them — Illinois and Mississippi — require it more than once. Active shooter training can be expensive, but state lawmakers should commit to providing the necessary instruction if they want law enforcement to be better prepared for a mass shooting, police training experts said.


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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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