This story is part of a KXAN series of reports called “Stop Mass Shootings,” providing context and exploring solutions surrounding gun violence in the wake of the deadly Uvalde school shooting. We want our reports to be a resource for Texans, as well as for lawmakers who are convening a month after the events in Uvalde to discuss how the state should move forward. Explore all “Stop Mass Shootings” stories by clicking here.
UVALDE, Texas (KXAN) – Less than half of all local Uvalde peace officers had completed active shooter training when the Robb Elementary School mass shooting occurred on May 24, a KXAN investigation found.
Months later, these officers and “hundreds of responders from numerous law enforcement agencies — many of whom were better trained and better equipped than the school district police,” continue to face scrutiny regarding the actions taken over the course of 73 minutes from the time officers arrived on scene to when the shooter was neutralized, as detailed in the Texas House of Representatives Investigative Committee report on the Robb Elementary Shooting.
Forty-one of those who responded were local officers from the Uvalde Police Department and the Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office, according to the report.
The report stated responders “failed to adhere to their active shooter training.”
However, KXAN found besides officers with the school district, the “active shooter training” referenced numerous times throughout the report had never been completed by many members of Uvalde law enforcement.
KXAN focused its analysis primarily on local Uvalde officers because the identities of every individual officer who responded to the scene have not been released. However, the House Committee investigation reported the following breakdown of responders by agency:
- Uvalde CISD Police Department – 5 responders
- Uvalde Police Department – 25 responders
- Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office – 16 responders
- Other local, state, and federal agencies – 330 responders
KXAN reviewed Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, or TCOLE, records related to the law enforcement experience and training history of every licensed peace officer with the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Department, the Uvalde Police Department and the Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office.
Uvalde CISD Police Department
According to the Uvalde CISD website, its police department currently consists of five police officers.
On May 24, there were six active police officers with the Uvalde CISD Police Department, with a total of nearly 100 years of combined law enforcement experience, according to TCOLE records.
The Texas Education Code requires all school-based law enforcement officers to complete active shooter training. TCOLE records state all six of the UCISD officers had completed the required active shooter training.
Five of the six UCISD officers had completed eight hours of active shooter training in December 2021, approximately five months before the Robb Elementary School shooting, according to TCOLE. The sixth officer, who is no longer listed on Uvalde’s website, completed the eight-hour active shooter training in August 2020.
According to TCOLE records, two UCISD officers had completed more active shooter training hours than UCISD Police Chief Pete Arredondo over the course of their careers.
KXAN reached out to Uvalde CISD for a comment on the effectiveness of the active shooter trainings its officers have completed and will update this story when we receive a response.
Uvalde Police and the Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office
With the exception of school-based law enforcement officers, active shooter training is not state-mandated for Texas peace officers.
According to the Texas Administrative Code, peace officers are required to complete a minimum of 40 hours of continuing education every two years. Outside of state-mandated courses, officers can complete the training of their choice.
KXAN looked at the training and experience of all Uvalde Police officers and sheriff deputies who were actively employed with these agencies on May 24.
According to the House Committee report, 25 Uvalde Police Department officers responded to the Robb Elementary School shooting.
On May 24, there were 44 active peace officers employed with the Uvalde Police Department, according to TCOLE. Nearly half of them had never received active shooter training.
Among the Uvalde Police officers without active shooter training on May 24 was the acting chief of police.
Additionally, KXAN found far fewer deputies with the Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office had ever completed active shooter training.
According to TCOLE, the sheriff’s office had 39 active peace officers on the day of the shooting, 16 of whom responded.
TCOLE records indicate only eight, approximately 20%, of the peace officers at UCSO had ever received active shooter training.
KXAN reached out to UPD and UCSO for a comment and asked whether its now requiring its officers to complete active shooter training. KXAN will update this story when we receive a response.
Currently, UPD, UCSO and UCID have job postings listed for peace officer positions according to each of their websites.