By CHRIS AGEE
As State Senator Craig Estes, R-Witchita Falls, held a joint hearing on school safety earlier this week, law enforcement and school administrators discussed the same issue on a local level.
Estes, who represents Texas' 30th Senate District, including Palo Pinto County, held the hearing of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Rural Affairs and Homeland Security, and the Senate Committee on Education.
According to a press release from his office, last month's deadly school shooting in Newtown, CT, prompted lawmakers in Austin to discuss ways to improve school safety.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst directed Estes to compile recommendations to achieve that goal, the release reads.
Alongside initiatives on the state and federal level, the issue of school safety has been under review among numerous agencies within Palo Pinto County.
Mineral Wells Police Chief Dean Sullivan said he met with Mineral Wells Independent School District Supt. Dr. Gail Haterius the day of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December.
Since then, he said, there have been several followup meetings and an upcoming forum among school and MWPD personnel is planned to delve deeper into possible preventative measures.
Sullivan said the best way to prevent an active shooter situation in area schools is to be proactive.
He said his department is "reviewing our own operational protocol for response to events such as these that have unfolded around the country."
According to Sullivan, the MWISD already has contingency plans in place to deal with emergencies and he hopes to expand on those provisions.
Throughout any discussions of future safety measures, Sullivan said it is imperative that law enforcement and school officials are operating in one accord.
"We need to make sure our plans and their plans are cohesive," he said, in order to deal with "basically the unthinkable."