HOUSTON – Training to deal with school shooters is something police nationwide undertake in the wake of deadly attacks at schools like Columbine and Sandy Hook.
But the KHOU 11 News I-Team discovered not only are school police training to do battle, they're equipping themselves for it too.
State records show 10 different school district police departments in Texas received military surplus equipment, including trucks, guns, and armor, through a Department of Defense program. The districts include the following:
Ector County ISD
San Antonio ISD
Spring Branch ISD
In all, the departments received 64 M16 rifles, 18 M14 rifles, 25 automatic pistols, and magazines capable of holding 4,500 rounds of ammunition as well armored plating, tactical vests, and 15 surplus military vehicles.
Under the program, school police departments received the equipment at little-to-no cost. But not everyone's thrilled.
"We don't necessarily believe that this kind of equipment leads to students feeling more secure and safe in schools," said Brennan Griffin of Texas Appleseed.
The group has studied school police polices for years. Griffin calls news that military rifles have found new homes in Texas schools "concerning."
"We've seen how even much less-lethal devices like tasers and pepper spray get used inappropriately and end up harming children," he told the I-Team.
Locally, Spring Branch ISD police received 10 automatic pistols and 13 rifles.
Police Chief Brawner says the rifles are available only for use by tactically-trained officers in an emergency. He says when not being used in training, the military weapons are locked in the department's armory.
But Griffin cites studies showing the typical active-shooter crisis lasts only about 12 minutes.
"It's hard to see how an officer would be able to gain access to the armory, bring it to the school, assess the situation and somehow use that weapon in the time that a school shooting usually occurs," said Griffin.
Initially Chief Brawner agreed to talk to the I-Team on-camera about the weapons his department received.
He then canceled the interview.
Meanwhile, both Congress and the Department of Justice plan to review the military surplus program following violent clashes between protestors and police last month in Ferguson, Missouri.
RELATED LINK: Local police using military weapons