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Half Of Police Agencies Have Under 10 Officers. Should They Exist?

The criticism heaped on a six-member school police force in Uvalde, Tx., after its response to a mass shooter has drawn attention to a ubiquitous institution: the tiny police department. While supporters say such agencies provide a personal touch that bigger police departments can’t match, critics say they often lack the training, expertise and accountability expected in a world of heavily armed criminals and heightened scrutiny of officers.

In Uvalde, it took more than an hour after officers arrived for law enforcement to enter the classroom and kill a gunman who fatally shot 19 children and two teachers. The chief of the school police force has borne the blame, though larger agencies are also being strongly criticized.

Uvalde’s top school official has recommended the firing of school district police chief Pete Arredondo. The South Texas city’s school board will consider firing him at a special meeting Saturday, the Associated Press reports.

Police departments with under 10 officers have also made headlines in Pennsylvania, Maryland and elsewhere in recent years for hiring and misconduct issues, reports the Washington Post.

Many question whether t