ECISD police to apply for rifle-resistant body armor grant amidst changing school-security landscape

Annual school shootings have more than quintupled since 1999.
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 8:58 PM CST
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ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) - Since the Columbine High School shooting in 1999, annual school shootings have more than quintupled across the United States.

And with the Uvalde shooting last May, school districts are scrambling to adapt to the changing world of school security. That includes West Texas.

In response to the shooting at Robb Elementary, Gov. Abbott started a statewide grant program that allows police departments to apply for grants for rifle-resistant vests.

Ector County ISD Police Chief Jeff Daniels started working in law enforcement just before Columbine.

“After Columbine, it really exploded,” Daniels said. “And here, with recent events, it’s become the fastest-growing law enforcement division in the United States.”

So, it’s no surprise that the Ector County ISD Board of Trustees approved for the district to apply for the rifle-resistant body armor grant.

“They saw a need that, you know, we need to equip the officers who are responding to these calls with the type of equipment that will stop the firepower they’re facing,” Daniels said.

The new rifle-resistant plates are polyethylene and much lighter than steel or ceramic plates, allowing easier movement and comfort.

It’s a sobering idea that police need this equipment to deal with threats, but districts are adapting on the fly with annual school shootings showing no signs of abating.

“We don’t like that this is a necessity, of course, because it means we live in a world that requires this type of protection,” Daniels said.