Letters to the Editor, News Stories

Letter: Chief Browne Talks Police Training and School Security in Wake of Texas Shooting

To the Entirety of the Burlington Community:

This week, a tragic and horrific school shooting occurred in Uvalde, Texas where 19 school children and 2 teachers were murdered by a gunman. This incident has shaken all of us to our core and the ramifications of this horrific incident raise obvious and legitimate concerns for the Burlington School Community and the community at large. As a parent myself, I share your concerns and hope every day that something like this never happens here in Burlington.

With that said, I would like to take this opportunity to reassure all of you that your Burlington Police Department is highly trained and continues to put forth substantial efforts and implements best practices related to school safety and security. We continue to maintain an excellent relationship with the school department and the school staff in each of our schools. We maintain a high degree of proficiency in our training and have been training in active-shooter response scenarios for years. We continuously practice drills at the schools to test both our response, as well as the individual schools, and use the drills to maintain and test our equipment. After each drill we review our performance, to continually improve upon our response. The police department begins to train new officers on these topics as soon as officers come on board and the training is continuous and cumulative, bringing in new tactics and techniques that are learned and encouraged through studying prior incidents around the country. Our officers are equipped with the best tools and equipment, thanks to the strong and continuing support from the community. Our philosophy in the department is training is the most fundamental aspect of our job and our mission is to provide the best safety and security for our community. Many officers here have children in these very schools – myself included. There is no segment of our community more deserving of our protection than our students and school staff and they should be allowed to learn and teach in complete safety, knowing the Burlington Police Department is ready to respond to any threat at a moment’s notice.

I have never given in to the habit of second-guessing and will not do so here. I have not read any official reports and conclusions from the Uvalde shooting. However, like you, I have heard some disturbing information about the police response. I can assure you that we are ready to respond to any critical incident within the Town of Burlington and the officers of this department are trained to do so immediately when active indicators are present on scene. There will be no delay in our response.

In the coming weeks, the department will be hosting informational meetings for all interested members of the community so that we have the chance to express our collective concerns. This will allow myself and department personnel to answer your questions and very likely put you at ease knowing the level of preparedness and commitment each of the officers of this department possesses. Please stay tuned for further information through our social media accounts or call or email me directly at tbrowne@bpd.org and I will provide the information for you.

I sincerely appreciate the support of the Burlington Community and welcome open dialogue on any issues of concern. Together, we can continue to make strong partnerships and ensure the safety and security of all of our citizens within the Town of Burlington. I encourage you to express your concerns and allow us the opportunity to illustrate the level of performance that you can expect from your police department.

Respectfully,

Thomas Browne
Burlington Chief of Police