80% of Uvalde Sheriff Deputies Had No Active Shooter Training Prior to Shooting

A third-party investigator also determined the sheriff’s office had no policy in place for handling active shooter situations.

80% of Uvalde Sheriff Deputies Had No Active Shooter Training Prior to Shooting

Photo: Kaybe70, Adobe Stock

UVALDE, Texas — A third-party investigation determined only 20% of deputies with the Uvalde County Sheriff’s Department had received active shooter training prior to the May 24 massacre that claimed 21 lives at Robb Elementary School.

Hired by the Uvalde County commissioners to evaluate the sheriff’s office, retired judge and police procedure consultant Richard Carter also determined the department had no policy for handling active shooter situations at the time of the shooting, Yahoo reports.

“There was no active shooter policy. There were only definitions,” Carter said during a briefing Monday. “It did define what active shooters were, and there were portions that dealt with critical incidences and how officers would respond to that, but there was no active shooter policy.”

It took law enforcement officials 77 minutes to take down the gunman. Much of the delay, according to officials, stemmed from officers believing the active shooter situation was instead a hostage scenario. The Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office is one of several agencies being investigated for its response.

Of the 376 officers who responded to the shooting that day, 16 were sheriff’s deputies. Uvalde Sheriff Ruben Nolasco was one of the highest-ranking officers present during the shooting, but never received active shooter training in the nearly two years he’s held the county’s top law enforcement position, according to ABC News.

Carter said all but three of Nolasco’s deputies have since undergone active shooting training and there is now an active shooter policy in place. He also emphasized his review did not look into how Nolasco and his deputies responded on the day of the shooting but rather at the policies and methodologies of the sheriff’s department.

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is instead investigating Nolasco’s actions, and senior officials have told investigators that he acted like an incident commander outside the school. Nolasco said he was never in charge — something other agency leaders have previously said as blame for the breakdown in communication continues to shift nearly seven months later.

A CNN investigation alleges Nolasco failed to organize a response even after he was informed 911 calls were being made from inside the classroom where students and teachers were barricaded with the shooter. Nolasco claims he did not hear the call but CNN alleges body camera footage shows he was within earshot of multiple radios and was told by another officer on the scene.

According to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, active shooter training is not required for Texas sheriff’s departments unless they are serving under a school-based agency. However, Carter predicts that will change.

“I would anticipate that in the next session of legislature — I would be disappointed and shocked — if there was not legislation that made it a requirement, a mandatory course that all Texas police officers be required to take an active shooter response course,” he said.

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About the Author

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Amy is Campus Safety’s Executive Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

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