[guest post by Dana]
In a follow-up to the Uvalde massacre, Texas Department of Public Safety Col. Steven McCraw said this morning that the wrong decision was made by officials to wait for more equipment and not engage with the shooter:
While a gunman slaughtered children inside locked adjoining classrooms in a Texas elementary school, a group of 19 law enforcement officers stood in a hallway outside and took no action as they waited for more equipment, a state law enforcement official said Friday.
“The on-scene commander at that time believed that it had transitioned from an active shooter to a barricaded subject,” Texas Department of Public Safety Col. Steven McCraw said.
“From the benefit of hindsight where I’m sitting now, of course it was not the right decision. It was the wrong decision. There’s no excuse for that.”
The decision explains the lengthy wait between when officers first arrived to the school at 11:44 a.m. and when the gunman was finally shot at 12:50 p.m. The tactical team ultimately entered the locked classroom to confront the gunman using keys from a janitor, he said.
Here is a former active shooter trainer reviewing what is the standard, across-the-board protocol for law enforcement when at the scene of an active shooter, and also, what constitutes a “barricaded suspect” situation:
Ryan Searles, a security consultant with IMEG Corp and a former active shooter trainer, says the procedures are very similar across the nation.
“The primary goal of law enforcement during an active shooter is really to accomplish two things — one, stop the killing. And two, stop the dying…We learned from Columbine. You can’t sit outside and wait while kids are getting shot inside. You need to make entry right away, whether you’re a single officer or you’re waiting for your contact team,” Searles said.
But every scenario is different, and officers have to be ready to switch gears at a moment’s notice.
Though Searles is not privy to the mass shooting investigation in Uvalde, he said the training is standardized so that everybody can respond in the same way when mutual aid is called.
“An active shooter scene can change very quickly from an active shooter to barricaded suspect. As long as they make entry into a room and they’re barricaded, and no shots are fired, it’s now not treated as an active shooter event. It’s treated as a barricaded suspect,” Searles said.
hat’s when backup teams, like SWAT, are called.
“But as soon as a single shot is fired, it is a switch from a barricaded suspect immediately back to an active shooter, and you have to make entry. You can’t wait outside the classroom. You make entry right away, and you mitigate that threat,” Searles said.