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) — The executive director of the Texas Municipal Police Association (TMPA) says the agencies that responded to the deadly mass shooting at a Uvalde elementary school likely weren’t all able to communicate on the same radio channel.
“In larger communities, you’re going to have a tactical channel, a channel that every agency knows they can switch to,” said TMPA Executive Director Kevin Lawrence.
He says he doesn’t know what exactly transpired via emergency radio communication during the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary, but provided insight into how the 911 communication process works in smaller communities
“Someone has to make the decision. Someone has to be calling the shots, but that one person probably doesn’t have the ability to communicate to every different law enforcement officer that’s on that scene,” he said. “If that one person doesn’t have the ability to instantly communicate with all members of the team, then you have lag time and you have misinformation.”
On Thursday, State Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D-19) said the incident commander during the shooting – which was the Uvalde CISD Police Chief – didn’t receive information on the scene about the 911 calls that came from students inside the school.
“We’ve seen a finger pointed at the local ISD police chief,” he said. “The only 911 responders in this community… in this instance, it was Uvalde Police. The state authority does not know who Uvalde police was communicating the 911 calls to”
Lawrence asked the public to be patient as the investigation continues and more details about the response and the timeline emerge.
“There’s no way Uvalde was prepared for this,” he said. “Even if they’d done active shooter training, they haven’t worked through the details on the communication, they just don’t have the resources for it.”