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Texas Takes More Aggressive Approach In School Shootings

After the Uvalde, Tx., school massacre, the Texas Department of Public Safety has adopted a much more aggressive approach to handling school shootings, according to a July email obtained by The New York Times. The department has also referred five of its officers to the state inspector general for a formal investigation over an internal inquiry into the actions and inaction by state police officers at Robb Elementary School during the shooting on May 24. The officers face possible suspension, demotion or firing. Two of the officers had already been suspended. The moves amount to an acknowledgment that while state police director Steven McCraw has blamed the failed police response on the former Uvalde schools police chief, Pete Arredondo, other officers at the scene have also been found to share responsibility.

The change in protocol means that Department of Public Safety officers responding to an active shooting in a school would be operating under guidelines much different from those followed in Uvalde, where scores of officers did not rush to attack the gunman but instead considered him to be barricaded and contained. Minutes after the shooting began, officers began arriving. They did not enter classrooms to confront the gunman until more than an hour later. Border Patrol agents eventually stormed the classrooms and killed the gunman. After initially rushing toward the shooting, Arredondo, who was fired last week, treated the gunman, who had temporarily stopped firing inside a pair of connected classrooms, as a barricaded subject. McCraw now says, “When a subject fires a weapon at a school he remains an active shooter until he is neutralized and is not to be treated as a ‘barricaded subject.’” McCraw said the new guidance diverged from the training previously offered by the department, and also from the approach recommended by the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center at Texas State University, which has been used by police around the U.S.


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