Fort Hood commander says tighter security in place

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FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) — Tighter security measures and an increased focus on mental health services are among the changes introduced at Fort Hood in the wake of a deadly mass shooting two months ago, the Army post’s commanding general said Friday.

Armed guards have been posted at the mental hospital and other places on the Texas Army post, and there are more random searches at entry gates and more patrols in housing areas, Lt. Gen. Bob Cone said. Fort Hood also has ramped up its gun-registration policy since the Nov. 5 shooting that left 13 dead and dozens more injured.

The post has started a behavioral health campaign, a two-year process aiming to address the short- and long-term needs of those affected by the shooting — soldiers, their families, civilians and contractors. The program also helps soldiers being deployed or returning home, Cone said.

“If I could say one positive thing — the potential for a positive thing — that came out of this, it would be our ability to get a better handle on the magnitude of our behavioral health problems here at Fort Hood,” Cone said Friday at a lunch for the news media. “What we’re doing is using this as an opportunity to really cast a very broad net … to reach out to people who might be on the fringe.”

He said medical personnel assessed all the 850 people directly affected by the shooting — the hundreds in the processing center where the shooting occurred, military police who responded and others.

“Our view is that everyone who was affected, directly or indirectly, will be cared for,” Cone said.

An Army psychologist, Maj. Nidal Hasan, has been charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder. He remains at a San Antonio military hospital, undergoing rehabilitation for paralysis stemming from gunshot wounds suffered during the attack.

Authorities have not said whether they plan to seek the death penalty. Next month Hasan is to undergo an evaluation by military doctors to determine his mental status on the day of the shooting and if he is competent to stand trial.