The U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday announced additional details regarding the critical incident review of the law enforcement response to the mass shooting on May 24 in Uvalde, Texas, which will be conducted by the Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office). The goal of the review is to provide an independent account of law enforcement actions and responses; identify lessons learned and best practices to help first responders prepare for and respond to active shooter events; and provide a roadmap for community safety and engagement before, during, and after such incidents.
The assessment will examine issues including policies, training, communications, deployment and incident command, tactics, and practices as they relate to preparing for and responding to active shooter events, as well as the post-incident response. It will also include a review of survivor and victim family support and resources.
“Nothing can undo the pain that has been inflicted on the loved ones of the victims, the survivors, and the entire community of Uvalde,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “But the Justice Department can and will use its expertise and independence to assess what happened and to provide guidance moving forward.”
The COPS Office will lead the critical incident review with the support of a team of federal staff and subject matter experts. Those experts have extensive experience in a variety of relevant areas, including emergency management and active shooter response, school safety, incident command and management, tactical operations, officer safety and wellness, and victim and family support. Those experts include:
Chief Rick Braziel (retired), Sacramento, Calif.
Deputy Chief Gene Deisinger (retired), Virginia Tech, Va.
Director of Public Safety Frank Fernandez (retired), Coral Gables, Fla.
Albert Guarnieri, FBI Unit Chief.
Major Mark Lomax (retired), Pennsylvania State Police, Pa.
Laura McElroy, CEO, McElroy Media Group.
Sheriff John Mina, Orange County, Fla.
April Naturale, Assistant Vice President, Vibrant Emotional Health
Chief Kristen Ziman (retired), Aurora, Ill.
The department is committed to moving as expeditiously as possible in the development of the report. The review team will carry out a number of critical steps, including developing a complete incident reconstruction, reviewing relevant documents (e.g., manuals, policies, videos, photos), conducting site visits, and interviewing a wide variety of stakeholders, including law enforcement, government officials, school officials, witnesses, families of the victims, and community members.
The findings, lessons learned, and recommendations contained in the report will be based on national standards and best and emerging practices in the field of policing, current research, community expectations, and innovative solutions tailored to the critical incident review. A final report will be issued at the completion of the review.
The COPS Office is the federal component of the Department of Justice responsible for advancing community policing nationwide. The only Department of Justice agency with policing in its name, the COPS Office was established in 1994 and has been the cornerstone of the nation’s crime fighting strategy with grants, a variety of knowledge resource products, and training and technical assistance. Through the years, the COPS Office has become the go-to agency for law enforcement agencies across the country and continues to listen to the field and provide the resources that are needed to reduce crime and build trust between law enforcement and the communities served. The COPS Office has invested more than $14 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to more than 13,000 state, local and Tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring and redeployment of more than 135,000 officers.
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