A new report released by the Department of Justice charges law enforcement agencies with “cascading failures of leadership, decision-making, tactics, policy and training” in their response to the 2022 shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde ISD. The long-awaited Critical Incident Review states that law enforcement “demonstrated no urgency” in their response to the school shooting.
President Joe Biden’s Justice Department, headed by Attorney General Merrick Garland, released the 610-page report at a press conference in Uvalde last Thursday. At the conference, Garland stated that lives could have been saved if protocols had been followed properly and suggested that law enforcement agencies should act now by prioritizing active-shooter training to avoid a similar situation in the future.
The report lays blame at all levels of law enforcement: the local police department, the school district police, the county sheriff’s office, and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). The report states that these entities failed to coordinate a proper leadership structure that led to inaction. Despite law enforcement arriving at the scene shortly after the shooting began, agents waited 77 additional minutes before they engaged the shooter. Nearly 400 law enforcement officers responded to the scene.
In the wake of the report’s release, a grand jury was called by the Uvalde County District Attorney’s office on Friday to investigate the police response. District Attorney Christina Mitchell will receive a recommendation from the grand jury after presenting her case to them. Based on their recommendation, Mitchell will decide whether to pursue charges.
This report backs up the analysis published by the Texas Tribune, ProPublica, and Frontline that found that “states require far more training to prepare students and teachers for a mass shooting than they do for the police who are expected to protect them.” In the wake of the Uvalde shooting, Texas increased active shooter-related training for all officers, requiring 16 hours of training every two years.
At the press conference, Garland also took the opportunity to call for increased gun control measures, stating, “Our children deserve better than to grow up in a country where an 18-year-old has easy access to a weapon that belongs on the battlefield, not in a classroom.”