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St. Louis police prepared in event of mass shooting, SLPS have own security officers

"When a call comes in like this, it's an all-hands-on-deck situation,” a spokesman for Mayor Tishaura Jones said of mass shooting incidents.

ST. LOUIS — New St. Louis police recruits graduated Thursday night.

Now, they're ready to hit the streets, where they’ll definitely be needed.

"We're excited to graduate 20 new officers today as well as continue to hire more across city departments,” said Nick Desideri, a spokesman for Mayor Tishaura Jones said.

Add the 20 new officers to the St. Louis Police Department's current 1,090, and that means the force now has 1,110 police officers.

However, the department is still more than 100 officers short of its "desired authorized strength."

So, a big question:  In the event a mass school shooting like the one in Texas were to happen here, will St. Louis police be ready?

"When a call comes in like this, it's an all-hands-on-deck situation,” Desideri said.

5 On Your Side’s Robert Townsend wanted to take our question to Police Chief John Hayden and Mayor Tishaura Jones, but neither was available.

The mayor's spokesman says for more than a decade, the city's been preparing its "mass communication system" for a tragedy like this.

"SWAT, hostage response, district commanders the like are all engaged to make sure that the individuals in question are kept as safe as possible,” Desideri said.

Thursday, police in Texas said the suspect in the mass school shooting entered an unlocked school when he went on a deadly shooting spree.

5 On Your Side reached out to St. Louis Public Schools.

A spokesman said its district policy states the doors at its 62 elementary, middle and high schools are supposed to be locked when classes start.

We're also told St. Louis police do not patrol city schools.

SLPS has its own security officers.

"We're out in the cars with law enforcement,” said Aaron Laxton, a community behavioral health liaison with Assisted Recovery Centers of America in downtown St. Louis.

Laxton is one of 81 community behavioral health liasons in Missouri.

He and his team at Assisted Recovery Centers of America work with local police to prevent these mass tragedies.

"We will be working with command to provide the stress debrifefings, checking in with various patrols, districts to provide the wellness support that they need. When we go to these types of scenes we also reach out and assist families with a variety of mental support services they may need as well,” said Laxton.

Some of the new St. Louis police officers will hit the streets on Friday.

Others will go to work after Memorial Day.

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