The Mesquite Police Department will join other Texas law enforcement agencies in alerting residents to active shooters in the area.
After House Bill 103 went into effect on Sept. 1, local law enforcement agencies have the opportunity of joining an active shooter alert system through the Department of Public Safety (DPS).
“It is a program similar to the amber alert system and the silver alert system where the police department notified the DPS, and they send out a warning for everyone,” Officer Jolyn Lopez with the Mesquite Police Department said. “This system is different because it is about active shooters, where the system will alert residents within a 50-mile radius of an active shooter's location and notify participants or different agencies participating in the system.”
The law enforcement agencies will fill out certain required information including if the police department believes the active shooter is in their jurisdiction, if the department could verify the active shooter situation through a preliminary investigation and if individuals could provide the department with the shooter's last known location and any identifiable information.
“I think this will benefit the police department because we will have a description and a location,” Lopez said. “It's not just information that hasn't been vetted because they will have these requirements in place. When the law enforcement becomes involved, we will already have a plan of action.”
Residents will be able to notify law enforcement of active shooters, and the department will give the required information to the DPS.
“I think it’s important for us to stay alert and vigilant about any threat, and I think this is a good way for us to work with our communities whenever tragic things happen,” Lopez said.