Riverside Police Give Different Back-To-School Message After Recent Mass Shootings

Bernie Tafoya
August 15, 2019 - 1:28 pm

Photo provided by Riverside Police


CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Mass shootings around the country have prompted a west suburban police chief to revise his usual back-to-school message to parents and the community.

Riverside Police Chief Tom Weitzel said he usually sends out reminders about "stranger danger" and pedestrian safety, but especially because of recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, he felt it necessary to let parents know his department is prepared for a "what if" situation. 

Chief Weitzel said his department has met with and trained with police from neighboring departments, and he said he's purchased equipment he never would have thought necessary in Riverside years ago.

"We have purchased trauma kits, tourniquet kits. We've never had those in the history of my being here. We have those in the squad cars for officers to use in case of shotgun or other weapons attack. We have AEDs. We have some certain breeching equipment, if needed," and he said, heavy weaponry.

Chief Weitzel said he has received no negative responses so far, only positive ones.

"Parents have recognized that and said, 'thank you for not just sticking your head in the sand and saying, Oh, it won’t happen here,' and I’m not saying it will, but we’ll be as prepared as we can," he said.

Weitzel said it bothers him that he has to give a back-to-school message like the one this year, but he said it "signifies a change in what law enforcement is looking at around the country."