To begin this article, I’d first like to offer my deepest condolences to the family, friends, and acquaintances of those who had their lives taken in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, May 24. These lives were senselessly taken, and my heart is broken that this occurred.

I’ve been wanting to write something up on this for weeks now, but I wanted to wait until a bit more information was available before I gave commentary on initially reporting that is often false or misleading. I feel comfortable now that enough credible and accurate information is available to take a critical look at some of the actual facts about this case and to provide a brief commentary on what we (believe) we know.

In this article, I’d really like to consider things such as the police response and discuss whether the police truly do have the legal responsibility to enter an environment such as this. I’d also like to honor those who were lost and opine on things we as a society can do to help ensure violent incidents like this don’t occur with such frequency in our schools.


Those of you who are faithful members of likely already know that my professional background is in law enforcement (my last two years as a police officer were as an SRO) and that I am currently the director of safety for a school district in the suburb of a large midwestern city. In other words, every side of this tragedy hits me hard, both personally and professionally.

That said, let me begin with the law enforcement aspect of this tragedy. Before I venture into a critical review of the police response, let me just say that almost nobody is more pro-police than me. Heck, I even have a thin blue line tattoo running the length of my inner forearm. I loved being a police officer, and I think police officers have an incredibly difficult job that seems to be getting even more difficult on a daily basis. So, when I am critical about the overall response to this incident, please keep in mind that I’m not bashing the police as a whole (nor would I ever). I’m offering my professional assessment(in consultation with others in my profession) about actions taken by specific officers that seem to demonstrate either a failure of proper training or a failure to act according to that training as this tragic event occurred.

There also seems to have been a serious breach of the security of that school in the form of a broken lock on a secure door that was not treated with the sense of urgency that it required.

As a former police officer in a major midwestern suburb, I’ve had countless hours of active killer response training. Each year, all police officers in every jurisdiction around where I worked had to complete between 8-16 hours of active killer training (as a group) with the SWAT team (in addition to department-specific training). The first year we did this specific training was in 2011. That year we learned bounding (how to get to a building more safely by way of a large field), and we learned diamond formations and how to best utilize those for safe entry and progression through the hallways and rooms of large buildings. One point continually reiterated even in this first year was that if you arrived as the first responder and people were actively dying, then you did not wait for enough officers to arrive to form a diamond formation; you entered alone and hunted down the threat.

I, and every officer around me, utilized this training for Active Killer response. (South Carolina Virtual Academy)

In subsequent years, we learned modified diamond formations and the best way to clear a building alone. We practiced shooting SIM rounds on live targets. We rehearsed everything from eliminating suicide bombers to establishing casualty collection points and how we’d get paramedics safely into the building to begin treating injuries once a threat was subdued. We practiced subduing suspects while using rifles, shotguns, and pistols, and we knew when we screwed something up because we’d get smoked with a SIM round ourselves. For what it was, the training was excellent.