Uvalde CISD police hosted active shooter training in March that urged ‘immediate, decisive action’

‘First responder unwilling to place the lives of the innocent above their own safety should consider another career field,’ the training stated

Uvalde CISD police hosted an active shooter for school-based law enforcement course just two months before the massacre at Robb Elementary School. (Joshua Saunders, KSAT)

An active shooter course taught by Uvalde CISD police officers in late March instructed participants to use “immediate, decisive action” to neutralize a suspect at these types of scenes, training records obtained by the KSAT 12 Defenders show.

The eight-hour course, which took place March 21 at Uvalde High School, two months before the mass shooting, was instructed by a UCISD PD officer and a supervisor, according to records released this week by the Southwest Texas Junior College Law Enforcement Academy.

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The course included scenario training and informed officers taking part that in active shooter cases they “will usually be required to place themselves in harm’s way and display uncommon acts of courage to save the innocent.”

“First responders must understand and accept the role of ‘Protector’ and be prepared to meet violence with controlled aggression. A first responder unwilling to place the lives of the innocent above their own safety should consider another career field. Immediate, decisive action by school-based officers can have a dramatic impact on reducing casualties,” the training document states.

The 24-page document cites past school shootings, including at Columbine, Santa Fe and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High Schools, and is similar to active shooter response training materials widely found on the internet.

The course was hosted just two months before the deadliest school shooting in Texas history and took place less than two miles away from Robb Elementary School.

Nineteen children and two teachers were killed May 24 after shooter Salvador Ramos, 18, was able to enter the school through an unlocked door.

Law enforcement’s narrative of the massacre has repeatedly changed over the past 10 days.

The incident commander of the scene, Uvalde CISD Police Department Chief Pete Arredondo, continues to receive an avalanche of criticism about why it took officers well over an hour to breach a classroom and shoot and kill Ramos.

At one point, more than 45 minutes before Ramos was killed, there were up to 19 officers from various law enforcement agencies gathered in a hallway outside the classroom Ramos had entered.

See the training records below:

Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw said late last week Arredondo made the “wrong decision, period” to hold back officers and wait for backup and additional tactical equipment.

A tactical unit including members of the U.S. Border Patrol eventually killed Ramos, more than 80 minutes after an armed-Ramos first arrived at the school.

Participants in the March 21 active shooter course were taught that an officer’s first priority is to move in and confront the attacker.

Arredondo was not listed as having received credit for the course, but he did take part in a separate active shooter training class Dec. 17, TCOLE records show.

Arredondo, who has been the school district’s police chief since March 2020, has more than 5,300 total hours of TCOLE and professional training, record show.

At least four officers with the Uvalde Police Department took part in the March 21 training and were given credit, Texas Commission on Law Enforcement records show.

It remains unclear what specific officers from UPD, UCISD PD and other law enforcement agencies were among the 19 gathered in the hallway for much of the active shooter incident.

A Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District spokeswoman did not respond to an email seeking comment Friday.

DPS officials have not provided general updates on the agency’s investigation in recent days.

The Department of Justice announced Sunday that it would conduct a formal review of law enforcement’s response to the massacre.

About the Author

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined KSAT Investigates in September 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat and on the Six O'Clock News. Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.

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