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) – Newly obtained emails from the Texas Department of Public Safety director show the agency has changed its active shooter policy following the school shooting in Uvalde where 19 kids and two teachers were murdered.
Texas Sen. Roland Gutierrez, D-San Antonio, provided the emails to KXAN after they were released in a public records request he filed.
In a July 20 email, DPS Director Steve McCraw said the agency’s officers will be “authorized to overcome any delay to neutralizing an attacker.”
The director went on to say DPS officers must treat the matter as an active shooter situation when a subject fires a weapon at a school — until the person is detained or killed.
In July, DPS said an internal committee would review the actions of every trooper, special agent and Texas Ranger who responded to Robb Elementary to determine if officers violated policy or their rapid response training, according to the same email.
Already, five DPS law enforcement officers have now been referred to the Office of Inspector General where a formal investigation into their actions that day will take place. Two of those five officers have been suspended with pay pending the outcome of the OIG investigation.
Officers waited more than an hour before entering the classroom where the 18-year-old shooter killed 21 people. 376 law enforcement officers, including 91 DPS officers, from across the state arrived on scene during that time, according to a report from a Texas House Committee.
The only other agency that had more officers respond to the school was U.S. Border Patrol, which had 149 officers show up during the shooting.
“Although I remain highly critical of the decision to treat the incident as a barricaded subject by the ranking Consolidated Independent School District police official at the scene, DPS and other agencies must also be held accountable for their actions or inactions,” McCraw said in the email.
Uvalde CISD Police Chief Pete Arredondo was first in command in the case of an active shooter situation at any of the schools, according to the district safety plan.
Arredondo drew criticism from McCraw in the weeks following the shooting for treating the scene as a response to a barricaded subject, instead of an active shooter.
An active shooter distinction would have required officers to enter the classroom and stop the shooter immediately.
Arredondo said previously he did not know he was the commanding officer during the shooting. The school board has since fired him from his position as police chief.
The review of DPS officers is being conducted by an internal committee led by the Deputy Director of Law Enforcement Services Jeoff Williams. The committee also includes members of the Office of the Inspector General, according to the email.
McCraw said the ongoing Texas Rangers criminal investigation is also looking into the actions of officers who responded to the elementary school.
Capitol correspondent Monica Madden contributed to this story.