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Palm Springs police add extra school patrols, graduation security after TX shooting

In response to this week's deadly rampage at an elementary school in Texas that killed 19 children and two teachers, police across the valley are stepping up patrols at schools and graduations.

"I'm sure parents are on edge," said PSPD Sgt. Mike Casavan. "I'm a parent, I'm definitely on edge. It's something that I am deeply concerned about."

News Channel 3's Jake Ingrassia was along for the ride with Palm Springs police Thursday on new additional patrols at schools around the city, looking for anything suspicious as students finish out the school year.

"Today's a hot day; it's over 90 degrees," Casavan said. "If someone's walking in with a large overcoat, maybe even a trench coat, that might be someone we might want to speak to... We're looking for vehicles that are haphazardly parked. Somebody who's not familiar with the school... the vehicle will look out of place."

The school patrols are being dispatched from police headquarters throughout the day, and officers will voluntarily check in at school sites too.

Sgt. Casavan said if an active shooter were to be reported at a Palm Springs school, the response would be immediate.

"We're gonna automatically engage with that person; we're going to chase him down," he said. "Wherever he goes, whatever it takes, we're going to end that threat."

In addition to extra patrols, PSPD officers carry gear at all times meant to keep them prepared to handle active killers – including:

  • a heavy duty body armor vest built to take a rifle round
  • a rapid deployment bag with loaded magazines and first aid to treat bullet wounds

Officers also keep on hand the most firepower they have: an AR-15, which gives authorities greater accuracy and longer range to take a shooter down.

"We don't want to be under-gunned or under-weaponed," Casavan said. 'We want to at least be able to defend the people that are there at the school."

Police said there will be added security the Palm Springs High School graduation ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Thursday night.

School security, staff and PSPD officers will be on site. Bags will be searched and students will be checked as well, authorities said.

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Jake Ingrassia

Joining News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 as a reporter, Jake is excited to be launching his broadcasting career here in the desert. Learn more about Jake here.

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