NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – North Texas police departments are reviewing the report that found law enforcement officers prioritized their own safety over the safety of innocent victims in Uvalde.
The 77-page report, describing breakdowns in communication, general confusion on scene, and poor decision making from responding law enforcement agencies.
Police waited more than an hour before storming the classroom where the 18-year-old gunman shot and killed 19 students and two teachers.
The report says it’s unclear whether earlier action could have saved lives, but “it is plausible that some victims could have survived if they had not had to wait 73 additional minutes for rescue.”
“We’ll never know for sure, obviously, because that’s something difficult to prove,” said Chief Jimmy Perdue of North Richland Hills Police Department. “But clearly all indications are that there should have been actions earlier in that process to go inside that room.”
Chief Perdue is also the president of the Texas Police Chiefs Association. He said in hindsight, at one of the 376 officers who responded to the school should have gone past the chain of command and taken action.
“How you could hear gunfire in a school and not believe officers need to be running headlong into that gunfire, is just a complete mystery to me,” said Jack Mills, owner of Virtual Tactical Training Resources.
Mills spent decades in the military and now helps train law enforcement and security personnel for active shooter situations with virtual simulators.
He hopes this is a wake-up call for every police department.
“The first thing is, they should certify periodically that they’ve gone through scenario-based training in those high priority areas – a school, City Hall, places where people are congregating, hospitals,” Mills said.
The Texas Department of Public Safety has formed an internal committee to review the agency’s response to the shooting and see where improvements can be made.
CBS 11 reached out to more than a dozen North Texas law enforcement agencies to see what lessons they plan to take away from what happened in Uvalde. Most declined to comment on the record about the case.
The Arlington Police Department did release this statement:
“The Arlington Police Department regularly reviews responses to major incidents, including those that occur in other parts of the region, state, and country, so we can learn from them and determine whether we need to update any of our policies, operational procedures, or training to put APD officers in the best position possible should we be called to respond to a similar situation. The Uvalde school shooting is certainly one of those incidents we’ll be taking a look at. Protecting our schools remains a top priority for the department – and we will continue to work diligently with Arlington ISD and our other educational partners to ensure schools are safe for students and staff.”
The Collin County Sheriff’s Office said: “Our policy of pursuing an active shooter is crystal clear, we train regularly on how to engage and end an active shooter event. We are also in the process of issuing lightweight rifle-rated shields to all of our deputies – as first on-scene will enter immediately and engage an active shooter because seconds are precious for any potential victims.”
From the Dallas Police Department: “The Dallas Police Department continuously examines policies, procedures and training not only after tragedies like Uvalde, but routinely through the year. The Dallas Police Department is in constant contact with our federal, state and local counterparts to partner and train for active shooter response. DPD has been in contact with all school districts located within the city of Dallas. Meetings have been held with our law enforcement partners and trainings have been planned to make sure agencies can work together in a coordinated effort at any active shooter event, whether that includes a school, church, or a business.”