On November 2, 2021, teachers at Aransas Pass High School were notified of a student armed with a gun on campus. When asked to submit to a thorough search, the student ran. The school locked down, and because the student could not be located, the entire school district went into a Secure (lock-out). Staff and police soon learned there might be one or two other students on campus armed with the gun originally seen with the initial student.
Over 100 officers from the Coastal Bend Region responded to help search for the student. These included Rangers, US Marshals, DPS Special Crimes, Corpus Christi PD, Highway Patrol, as well as Ingleside PD and San Patricio County Sheriff’s Deputies. For a handful of those responding, Tango Tango proved to be an invaluable tool.
Aransas Pass Chief Blanchard, who was outside guarding a door and managing public information for parents, used Tango Tango to communicate with fellow officers because he was on injured duty and didn’t have his police radio at the time. Command teams inside the school – some on Wi-Fi and others using cell service – could communicate over Tango Tango as well. This included the Assistant Chief Lynn Pearce who depended on Tango Tango inside the high school to communicate because his radio could not penetrate the campus.
Police Network Manager David Offalter was in the dispatch facility at the time, running a 3rd console. Because the 3rd console radio was failing, Offalter used Tango Tango to dispatch over the radio system, ensuring the public safety response continued uninterrupted by equipment failure.
The suspect, who was in fact armed, fled to Corpus Christi, where he engaged CCPD officers in a shooting, ultimately costing him his life.
In a time of crisis, Tango Tango helped in three key ways: 1) A commanding officer, who happened to be without his radio, could communicate on his radio channel with his cell phone; 2) Tango Tango allowed officers to communicate despite their radios being blocked due to radio “dead zones”, which are common to schools across the country; and 3) When dispatch equipment failed, Tango Tango provided a key redundancy, allowing the first responders to continue their work and communicate with their team.
Tango Tango, we make schools safer