Jun 25, 2013 5:31 PM CDT
Round Rock Police say two officer involved shootings in a week's time is unusual and as Round Rock's population continues to skyrocket, police say they need to be more prepared for critical incidents, no matter how rare they are.
The police and fire departments are planning to ask voters to approve a $38 million bond proposal. It's for a new joint training facility that would better prepare first responders for the rare but critical incidents.
Round Rock Police train for different high risk scenarios. One forces officers to make critical decisions at the right time or else risk the loss of life.
"These are things where officers have been exposed to them and before, they are much more likely to react appropriately and more quickly," RRPD Sgt. Greg Brunson said.
That training was put to use Sunday in downtown Round Rock, near City Hall. Police say three officers were involved in shooting and killing 31-year-old Sarah Harrington of Williamson County. They say she was armed and wouldn't put down her gun. Officers also tried pepper spray and a taser but she wasn't affected. Police call it suicide by cop.
Just a week before, two other Round Rock Police officers shot and killed Jonathan Demarco. Police say he shot and killed his girlfriend inside a home and then pointed the gun at officers.
"The events that happen more rarely are the ones that are more critical in nature and it is important that our officers get regular exposure to these and because they happen rarely that exposure has to be through realistic training," Brunson said
As Round Rock grows, training becomes even more important since crime generally increases with population.
In 1970, the population of Round Rock was around 2,800 people. Every decade, that number exploded.
In 1980, the population more than quadrupled to 12,740. In 1990, the population nearly tripled to 30,923.
It doubled in 2000 to 61,136. It finally slowed down a bit in 2010, where the number of residents was just under 100,000.
"We probably won't grow as rapidly as we have in the past but we're a little over 100,000. We project ultimately to be 250,000 to 300,000 population," Round Rock Communications Director Will Hampton said.
If passed, the 72 acre $38 million training facility will sit behind the police department. So instead of driving to College Station for a driving course, officers can practice and qualify in their own background.
Currently, officers have to go to Fort Hood every six months for active shooter training. The proposed joint facility will also house a shooting range, and a so called Sim city that can adapt to many scenarios.
"In any critical incident, prior officer training helps them to identify threats and make decisions more quickly and the ultimate goal of all this high risk training is to save lives," Brunson said.
Voters are expected to vote on this proposal in November.