Portland News

Inaction and Unwise Decisions from Uvalde Police Led to a Greater Catastrophe

Image Source: CNN

The Uvalde school shooting has generated much discussion. With nineteen students and two teachers dead, many people are still wondering where the police were during this time period as well as what could have been done differently to prevent more deaths from occurring in such an instance?

The 19 law enforcement officers stood outside the classroom, waiting for over 50 minutes while listening to dispatch communicate with 911. The dispatchers were receiving reports that children were calling and begging desperately needing help; all this time they had no idea what was happening inside because key items such as tactical equipment weren’t available without being called first-hand by those who knew where it would be most helpful.

The Texas Department of Public Safety has admitted that they erred in their response to an active shooter situation. The on-site commander and Uvalde school district police chief were said, however, believe this transition from a life threatening active shooter situation to a barricaded subject.

“It was the wrong decision. Period,” said McCraw regarding the supervisor’s decision not to confront Ramos. “There’s no excuse for that.”

The executive director of the National Tactical Officers Association has harshly criticized a police inspector’s decision to delay response time following an active shooter situation. Thor Eells said that this flies in contrast with protocol established after the Columbine High School tragedy where it is common practice for officers to arrive on scene quickly and provide cover before gunfire begins.

After the Columbine shooting, law enforcement was trained to respond with a new tactic called ICE (isolate the suspect, contain them, and evacuate the scene). The event forced changes in how they responded that allowed for more focus on active shooter situations.

The decentralized nature of police standards at the local, state and federal levels is what makes it so hard to implement an active shooter protocol, noted John Jay College Police Science Professor Maria Haberfeld.

“The way the Uvalde officers responded aligned with the fact that they likely did not have proper training,” said Haberfeld.

Texas law enforcement officers are trained to follow guidelines for handling school shooters. In March, the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District hosted an active shooter training session in order to be prepared should there ever be a need arise within their community’s schools or colleges campuses

Opinions expressed by Portland News contributors are their own.