Uvalde Cops Face Criticism As People Praise Nashville Officer Response
As police bodycam footage from the school shooting in Nashville continues circulating online, many people can’t help but compare the police response to last May’s shooting in Uvalde, Texas. The comparisons seem to be even more appropriate, too, considering a recent Texas Tribune piece about the Uvalde officers.
An investigation into a series of interviews conducted after the shooting confirmed the worst. The Uvalde officers held out from shooter Salvador Ramos until reinforcements arrived on the scene. Additionally, the Uvalde officers knew the tactical backup was traveling a 60-mile distance to the school.
Interviews with Uvalde officers revealed by Texas Tribune investigation
“You knew that it was definitely an AR. There was no way of going in,” said Sergeant Donald Page from the Uvalde Police Department. “We had no choice but to wait and try to get something that had better coverage where we could actually stand up to him.”
In another interview, Detective Louis Landry said, “We weren’t equipped to make entry into that room without several casualties,” adding, “Once we found out it was a rifle he was using, it was a different game plan we would have had to come up with. It wasn’t just going in guns blazing, the Old West style, and take him out.”
Former Uvalde school district police chief Pete Arredondo was interviewed, too, saying, “We’re gonna get scrutinized [for] why we didn’t go in there,” he said. “I know the firepower he had, based on what shells I saw, the holes in the wall in the room next to his. … The preservation of life, everything around [the gunman], was a priority.”
14 minutes vs. 74 minutes
According to a timeline published by the Austin-American Statesman, it took just 14 minutes for officers to respond to the initial 911 call and also kill the shooter. The shooter, Audrey Hale, entered the Covenant School at 10:11 AM. By 10:13, Nashville police received a 911 call and began making their way to the school.
Hale made their way through the building, going inside the church’s office at 10:18. Officers arrived on the scene at 10:25. The shooter then fired a few rounds from the second floor. However, officers ran up the stairs and declared the shooter dead by 10:27.
Experts and social media users alike are praising the Nashville officers for their swift and effective response. A criminal justice and homeland security professor named Robert J. Louden called the response “professional” and “very, very brave.” He then added, “It is the epitome of what police should be doing.”
Parents and family members of children killed in Uvalde also responded on social media.
Kimberly Garcia, Amerie Jo Garcia’s Mother
Angel Garza, Amerie Jo Garcia’s Stepfather
Brett Cross, Uziyah Garcia’s Father
Politicians and pundits are weighing in, too.
State Senator Roland Gutierrez, Texas
Sara Gonzalez, Blaze TV
Nerdy Addict, Nerd Bird
The Uvalde officers waited for 74 minutes in the hallways of Robb Elementary. The now-infamous surveillance footage of the officers standing still as Ramos fires into nearby classrooms is resurfacing in the wake of the Nashville shooting.
One Twitter user even compared the two minutes it took Nashville officers to subdue Hale with two minutes of the Uvalde officers standing in the hallway:
The timelines following the shooting parallel the responses
In addition to praising the Nashville officers for their bravery, many are happy with the department overall for releasing bodycam footage just 24 hours after the shooting. The transparency from officers came as a breath of fresh air following nearly a year of obstruction and secrecy from the Uvalde department.
The Uvalde shooting prompted a series of investigations into the entire department. Last July, a Texas House committee concluded that the response in Uvalde was marred by “systemic failures and egregious poor decision making.”
However, by February of this year, the Texas Department of Public Safety determined it would not discipline any more Uvalde officers. The department fired just two officers involved in the May 24 shooting while a third resigned voluntarily.
However, investigations into the Uvalde response went on for months. The Uvalde Police Department then tried to prohibit the public from seeing the bodycam footage. Uvalde schools police chief Pete Arredondo also hid from the public for weeks after the shooting. Before long, most officers communicated with the public through their lawyers.
Additionally, the aftermath in Nashville is a different story. The five officers who confronted Hale are being touted as heroes by the department and the general public alike. There was also no hesitation in releasing the bodycam footage and the department continues to be fully transparent about its response.