HOUSTON — In the wake of a massacre at an elementary school in the city of Uvalde, the Texas Department of Public Safety has quietly adopted a much more aggressive approach to handling school shootings, according to a July email obtained by The New York Times.
The department has also referred five of its officers to the state inspector general for a formal investigation following an internal inquiry into the actions and inaction by state police officers at Robb Elementary School during the shooting on May 24, according to a spokesman. The officers face possible suspension, demotion or firing.
Two of the officers had already been suspended, said the spokesman, Travis Considine.
Taken together, the moves amount to an acknowledgment that while the director of the state police, Steven McCraw, has publicly laid blame for the failed police response on the former Uvalde schools police chief, Pete Arredondo, other officers at the scene have also been found to share responsibility.
who was fired last week, began treating the gunman, who had temporarily stopped firing inside a pair of connected classrooms, as a barricaded subject. Under that kind of response protocol, officers could theoretically focus on negotiating a surrender or strategizing an entry.
Mr. McCraw has called that the “wrong decision.” In his email, he described how state troopers would now be expected to respond.
“D.P.S. officers responding to an active shooter at a school will be authorized to overcome any delay to neutralizing an attacker,” Mr. McCraw wrote in the July email that laid out the new policy. “When a subject fires a weapon at a school he remains an active shooter until he is neutralized and is not to be treated as a ‘barricaded subject.’”
the first day of school in Uvalde, a delayed opening that had been met with apprehension and anger among many parents in the small city west of San Antonio.
No students returned to Robb Elementary, where an 18-year-old gunman armed with an AR-15-style rifle killed 19 students and two teachers just two days before the end of the last school year. The students have been transferred to other schools, and the district planned to demolish the elementary school.