The largest police officers’ union in Texas is calling for a “strong, independent investigation” into the chain of events that prompted Uvalde authorities to wait over an hour before confronting the gunman responsible for the second-deadliest school shooting in American history.
In a statement posted to the organization’s website, the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT) highlights the failures of federal authorities and major law enforcement agencies during and following the shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School last month.
“There has been a great deal of false and misleading information in the aftermath of this tragedy,” the statement reads. “Some of the information came from the very highest levels of government and law enforcement. Sources that Texans once saw as iron-clad and completely reliable have now been proven false. This false information has exacerbated ill-informed speculation which has, in turn, created a hotbed of unreliability when it comes to finding the truth.” The organization is asking the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to intervene in hopes that law enforcement can “understand how best to stop a similar compounded tragedy from happening again.”
CLEAT also cites a need for “more officers ” and “proper funding,” using the statement to advocate for increased access to training and resources across police departments statewide. “While our large cities and urban counties have ample resources and state-of-the-art training, our rural areas suffer,” the organization says.
Law enforcement’s response to the May 24 massacre has been under scrutiny since onlookers first reported witnessing anguished parents pleading with police officers to enter the school during the shooting. Officials later stated that they believed the suspect was “barricaded” in a classroom and posed no further threat to students. In reality, numerous students remained trapped alongside the gunman and the bodies of their slain classmates for nearly 90 minutes, many of them repeatedly calling 911 begging for help from police.
“Obviously, based on the information we have, there were children in that classroom that were still at risk,” Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw said last Friday. “From the benefit of hindsight where I’m sitting now, of course it was not the right decision. It was the wrong decision. Period.”