Houston ISD police chief discusses school safety amid recent threats

After several active shooter threats that were not credible, Houston ISD Police Chief Pedro "Pete" Lopez, Jr., spoke with FOX 26 one-on-one. 

Lopez says unfortunately they receive calls every week about threats to schools, and they take each one seriously. 

RELATED: Authorities investigating several bogus threats made against Houston area schools

"It’s something that’s important to me. It's something I think about every day," says Lopez. 

Post-Uvalde, Chief Lopez says district police departments nationwide took a critical look into their procedures.

For HISD, he says room for improvement was equipment. 

"All of our officers are trained to respond to an active shooter event, and we will go in," says Lopez. "The primary priority for the request for all of that equipment, wasn't the fact that we weren’t prepared to enter the rooms. It was the fact that we didn’t have the tools to enter the rooms, and that was the biggest issue that happened in Uvalde."

RELATED: Active shooter call at Heights High School in Houston, all clear given

During an early August school board meeting, the requested $2.3 million equipment was approved ultimately by a six to three vote. 

$1.3 million of the budget will go towards upgrading communications with two-way radios. The remaining $1 million will be used to purchase breaching tools to get through doors, 200 rifles, 200 ballistic plates, and shields to protect officers that come under fire, and gun safes for storage.

RELATED: Houston ISD votes for more guns, ammo and equipment for school officers

The chief says, in an active shooter event, every second counts. 

"All HISD police officers annually go through eight hours of alert training," says Lopez. "Since Uvalde, we are going to add another eight hours of breaching and shield training, we need the tools to make entry and save lives."

The department says they take every potential threat, hoax or not, seriously.

"When we receive a threat overnight, we send our patrol officers to identify the person, to go to that person's house, and to see if the threat is credible, because I can't take a chance," says Lopez. 

"A lot of those parents don’t realize what their kids are doing over social media.. That’s why I say please make sure you are monitoring what your kids are doing over social media."

The chief says it’s a third-degree felony to make a terroristic threat and your child is subject to going to jail or probation if they get convicted of the offense.