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‘No Waiting For Tactical Teams’: Former SWAT Commander Explains How Police Are Trained To Handle Active Shooters

REUTERS/Marco Bello

Kay Smythe Commentary Writer
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A former SWAT commander spoke out Thursday in response to criticisms that officers did not respond effectively during the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

Former SWAT team commander Brian Higgins told the New York Times that “there’s no waiting for tactical teams,” and that officers are now trained to disable gunmen as quickly as possible, even if there are only two officers on the scene. However, if gunfire stops, Higgins said law enforcement are trained to react as if there is a hostage situation or barricade, where certain tactics include waiting, the outlet continued. (RELATED: REPORT: Accounts Tied To Texas Shooter Shared Chilling Messages, Photos Of Guns Before Massacre)

Robb Elementary school’s security officer was reportedly not even at the school when the gunman entered the property, but instead drove to the school, according to a law enforcement official cited by the New York Times. Authorities reported that the officer exchanged gunfire with the suspect prior to him entering the school, but later reported he did not engage the shooter, the New York Times continued.

So delayed was the response time that onlookers discussed entering the premises themselves, mirroring similar issues to the Parkland shooting in 2018 where the resource officer and sheriff’s deputies waited outside the building as the shooting took place, the New York Times reported. Florida Sheriff Sgt. Brian Miller hid behind his car as 17 students were murdered in Parkland High School, an act he was initially fired for, but he was later rehired back with full pay and seniority.