AUSTIN, Texas - Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is calling for more bulletproof shields for school law enforcement officers in the wake of the Uvalde, Texas mass shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers.
Patrick is asking Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan to join him and Senate members of the Legislative Budget Board in a budget execution letter to move $50 million to either the Governor's Office or Department of Public Safety (DPS) to begin buying the shields as soon as possible.
In a statement, Patrick claims the shields will help enhance law enforcement's ability to respond to an active shooter situation.
"Of course, more training is needed, but we cannot wait for another school year to begin to better-equip our police who respond to these attacks," he said.
Patrick says the letter will begin the funding necessary to provide the shields to all law enforcement, similar to how the Texas government has spent billions on the border this year.
"We will start by providing the shields to every school district officer in the state who does not have one. There could be a supply-chain issue at present, but we should buy every quality shield we can find and order the rest so we are at the front of the line when more become available," Patrick said in the statement.
According to Patrick, DPS would be tasked with buying the shields so they are standard across the state. Patrick also says he wants the shields spread across as many of the state's nearly 9,000 school campuses as possible before the fall semester begins.
TEA may be tapped to design a plan to distribute the shields to school law enforcement while the governor's office or another agency would distribute them to all other law enforcement.
Patrick says that this type of solution has been put in place twice before, once after five Dallas police officers were killed in 2016 and again after two troopers were shot and killed through their windshield during a traffic stop. After these incidents, new bulletproof vests and shields were procured for law enforcement.