No active shooter policy for the Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office

‘Step down, Mariano. Step down!’ Berlinda Arreola shouted

UVALDE, Texas – There was a heated Uvalde County Commissioners Court meeting Monday as an independent review of the sheriff’s office policy was unveiled.

Tempers flared from loved ones of victims’ families as the review fell short of being called an investigation.

“You sign in because it’s a part of the record of commissioners court,” county judge William Mitchell said.

After some of the families of the 21 victims killed at Robb Elementary were privately spoken to, the Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office review of policy and procedures was presented.

“Prior to May 24th there was not an active shooter policy adopted by the Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office?” commissioner Ronnie Garza asked.

“You are correct Mr. Garza, there was no active shooter policy, there were only definitions,” Richard Carter, the attorney hired by the county commissioners to conduct the review said.

Not only was there no active shooter policy in place for the Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office on May 24th, but Sheriff Ruben Nolasco also has not gotten that training since.

“For what they’re training right now, he has not taken the course that his officers, all but three of his officers, have. He plans on doing that in the immediate future,” Carter said.

Carter made it clear in his presentation Monday that this was not an investigation into the sheriff’s office response on May 24th.

That distinction angered some of the families present.

“For two months, we’ve been hoping for an investigation, and that’s what we’ve been waiting for -- just to find out it was just a review of the whole entire department was disappointing in itself,” Berlinda Arreola, grandmother to Amerie Jo Garza said.

“I knew we weren’t going to get answers like we expected, I mean it’s…I figured that so much,” said Javier Cazares, Jackie Cazares’ father.

There was further salt in the wound for the families when they came face to face with Commissioner Mariano Pargas, who was the acting Uvalde police chief the day of the shooting at Robb Elementary.

Pargas has since left the department after it was revealed he spoke to dispatchers about children calling from inside of the classrooms with the shooter.

“All I can say is that a lot of stuff has been put out there is not the way it happened. That’s all I can say,” Pargas said.

Carter said he made recommendations that he feels will make the sheriff’s office better serve and protect the people of Uvalde.

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About the Authors:

Leigh Waldman is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.