Uvalde officers likely ‘unprepared for conflict’, says retired FBI agent

Police officers in Uvalde “may not have been prepared for the conflict” before the recent mass shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers, wrote in the New York Times a retired FBI special agent who created the active shooter program.

Why is this important: Texas law enforcement officials are facing massive criticism for why it took officers so long to arrest Uvalde’s shooter.

  • Officials say 19 officers were in a hallway outside the classrooms when the first call from inside one of the rooms was made around 12:03 a.m., but law enforcement did not enter in the classrooms until 12:51 p.m.
  • The Department of Justice announced on Sunday that it would conduct a full review of the police response to the shooting and outline best practices in response.

Driving the news: “Current protocol and best practices indicate that officers should constantly pursue their efforts to neutralize a shooter when a shooting is in progress,” retired FBI agent Katherine Schweit wrote in The Times. “This is true even if only one officer is present. This is definitely the right approach.”

  • “We need to understand why this protocol was not followed at Uvalde,” she wrote. “I’m still convinced that the FBI’s emphasis on training to this standard was right, but I’m less confident in its execution.”
  • “The responding officers may have been unprepared for the conflict, which can have fatal consequences,” she wrote. “Law enforcement officers need to be mentally prepared before arriving on the scene, so they can respond immediately.”

Switzerlandwho created and led the active shooter program in the aftermath of the 2012 Sandy Hook shootings, wrote that “police departments should consider more virtual tabletop drills than they can complete in an afternoon.

  • “Ask officers to walk around schools and talk to each other about how they would react. Ask officers to check all their gear before starting a shift.”
  • “Repetitive training builds practice and confidence,” she writes.

To note: The Uvalde School District held a one-day training for local police and law enforcement officers on “active shooter response” two months ago, ABC News reports.

  • “First responders to the active shooter scene will generally have to put themselves in danger,” reads the description of the training course, according to ABC News.

Go further … Police Failure in Uvalde Mass Shooting: What We Know

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