SAN MARCOS, Texas – The ALERRT Center assistant director said a lack of training, leadership and equipment were factors in the delayed law enforcement response at Robb Elementary in Uvalde.
The ALERRT Center in San Marcos sets the national standard in training law enforcement to respond to active shooter situations.
Based on the timeline given by Texas DPS, Uvalde police were inside the school two minutes after the gunman arrived.
Standard protocol requires all law enforcement agencies to arrive quickly and stop the active killing, according to John Curcutt, assistant director for the ALERRT Center.
“We’re going to have to forcibly breach and enter and stop this person or these kids that have already been injured or are dying as a result of those injuries,” Curcutt said.
He said responding officers faced the challenge of making entry on the shooter without adequate body armor or a shield, especially facing an AR-15.
“If you’re going to walk into a barrage of gunfire, and you’re the first person is going to go down, the second person’s going to go down, third person. It’s almost like landing on the beaches of Normandy,” Curcutt said.
Three Uvalde police officers were grazed by bullets and then waited 30 minutes for tactical gear.
Unfortunately, the tactical gear did not arrive from U.S. Border Patrol until 45 minutes after the suspect made entry.
Although Uvalde has a SWAT team, it’s unclear where the unit was or why Border Patrol brought the tactical gear.
“The time that it took is indicative that we haven’t done enough of the right type of training. We didn’t have enough of the right type of tools and equipment,” Curcutt said.
After more than 40 minutes had passed, law enforcement began evacuating students in other classrooms by breaking the windows and directing students to safety.
Texas DPS Director Steven McCraw said the Uvalde ISD police chief was taking the lead.
Curcutt said campus police must take an eight-hour course in active shooter training, which is only half of what all other agencies are required to take.
“It’s not just the type of training, it’s how you train, how often you train, and being pushed to your limits in a training environment and coached through those difficult moments, and eight hours is good. More is always better,” Curcutt said.