New Pima County program aiming to save lives during a school shooting is in the works

Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 6:50 PM MST|Updated: Mar. 31, 2023 at 9:42 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - A new program is in the works across Pima County to help save lives during a school shooting.

The program aims to provide better communication and training to schools and law enforcement. The goal is to improve response times when there is a threat on campus.

This program has been in the works since the summer, and it will soon be ready to go. It brings together law enforcement agencies and school officials across the county, all with the same goal of protecting students and saving lives.

“It’s not a matter of if anymore, it really is a matter of when. We just want to be as best prepared as possible,” explained Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos.

This week, a school shooting in Nashville claimed the lives of three children and three adults. It’s one of the latest examples of gun violence at schools across the nation, something that now seems inevitable. In Pima County, a new program is working to train law enforcement agencies and schools to respond to school threats.

“We have a plan. They have a plan and really, that’s what this is all about, coming up with a plan so we can get there quickly, hit a button and all the cops know and they’re going to respond,” said Sheriff Nanos.

According to Nanos, it will be similar to the way the Pima Regional Critical Incident Team responds to an officer-involved shooting, but instead, it will be a regional effort to respond to active attackers or shooters in our schools.

“It’s interesting because I was talking with the Attorney General yesterday and I believe we’re about the first one in the state to do this,” he stated.

Work on the program started this summer following the Uvalde school shooting that left 21 dead.

“I think everybody watched that unfold and the aftermath of no one wanting to take full responsibility,” said Nanos. “And it’s not just them, it’s us. We look at that and go, ‘Are we in that same boat? Could that happen here?’”

The program involves the sheriff’s department as well as 11 other agencies and 11 school districts.

“It’s hard to put 22 different agencies together in a room and get things accomplished, but this has just been moving full steam ahead. Everybody’s on board,” he explained.

Sheriff Nanos hopes to get the program started by the end of the summer. Right now, they’re in the process of training.

To watch an extended version of Sheriff Nanos’ interview about the program click here: