‘It’s a horrendous way to learn’: What emergency responders should take away from DOJ Uvalde report

A San Antonio law enforcement instructor recommends ways agencies can improve their emergency responses

SAN ANTONIO – Michael Davis has been looking over the Department of Justice’s report on the shooting at Robb Elementary.

As an instructor at the Alamo Area Regional Law Enforcement Academy, Davis said there is a lot of valuable input that public safety agencies and emergency management coordinators can take away from it.

“It’s a horrendous way to learn, but the unfortunate reality is that we’ve had to learn from these types of incidents stemming all the way back from 1999 and Columbine,” Davis said.

The academy reaches officers in 12 counties who are trained in state and federal requirements. Davis said there are already efforts to get committees to bring agency heads together to start a conversation on necessary changes to better communicate a response.

“Having that mindset of, ‘It’ll never happen here’ or ‘It just hasn’t happened here’ is the wrong mindset to have. Our goal is to be prepared,” Davis said. “The more you plan for these types of things, the better you can mitigate and work around it. All of it really comes down to having those discussions, training, mutual aid agreements.”

Davis’ recommendations to emergency responders after they read the report include communication with outside agencies, reevaluating existing policies and practicing emergency plans.

“You need to know that it works when you need it, and you need to know that your people are trained to do it,” Davis said. “And we have to have the commitment to serve our community.”

KSAT asked local school districts and the San Antonio Police Department if they had reviewed the DOJ’s report.

“School safety will always be a priority for us in NISD as will our efforts to improve existing practices and protocols,” a Northside ISD spokesperson said.

“Safety of our students and staff is our number one priority. We will continue to go through the report and ensure our police officers and safety specialists are apprised of it, as well,” a North East ISD spokesperson said.

“All our officers are/will be going through the State mandated ALERRT active shooter training during every two-year training cycle,” an SAPD spokesperson said.

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About the Authors

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.

Adam Barraza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12 and an El Paso native. He interned at KVIA, the local ABC affiliate, while still in high school. He then moved to San Antonio and, after earning a degree from San Antonio College and the University of the Incarnate Word, started working in news. He’s also a diehard Dodgers fan and an avid sneakerhead.

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