Uvalde Police Department shows how not to write a press release

Uvalde Police Chief Daniel Rodriguez takes the cake for tone-deafness in the aftermath of the horrific school shooting in his town. A press release from the Uvalde Police Department was released on social media and it was breathtakingly awful.

The press release is on the department’s Facebook page. The police chief’s name and title is at the end of the document. The buck stops with him. He expressed sympathy for those who families who experienced the loss of a child and thanked the community for support of the police. He went on to express thanks that his “officers did not sustain any life threatening injuries.” It is impossible to imagine a more horrible statement.

Chief Daniel Rodriguez’s statement noted that several responding officers were shot in the massacre but survived. It also praised officers for having “responded within minutes” to the attack.

The full extent of the local municipal police department’s involvement in the response to the shooting and the role Rodriguez may have played in managing that response remain largely unclear. However, the timing of the Uvalde police chief’s statement is noteworthy in hindsight. It was dated May 26, 2022 and timestamped on Facebook at 12:53 p.m. Texas time. It appears to have come minutes before a planned 1:00 p.m. press conference where Victor Escalon, a regional director with the South Texas Department of Public Safety, struggled to explain why it took the police about an hour to kill the gunman. It came one day before a lengthier news conference by Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Steven McCraw about a collective law enforcement response that by many accounts could have been more urgent in its most critical stages.

Imagine being a parent of a murdered child in that mass shooting and hearing all the facts from timelines being published about the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School. One thing has been painfully clear as more and more details emerge – law enforcement on the scene failed those 10 year olds and the two teachers who were killed. While the Uvalde School District’s police force ran point on the response, Uvalde Police Department officers went to the scene to offer help, too. It took an off-duty Border Patrol agent to finally go into the classroom where the shooter barricaded himself with fourth grade students and kill the shooter. For at least an hour, those babies were shot and killed and others bled out waiting for adults to come rescue them.

The school district’s police and the city police proved to be cowardly and unprepared, though just a couple of months earlier, Uvalde police held active shooter training exercises. Decisions were made that proved deadly for those children and their teachers. It was a hostage situation as the officers waited outside trying to decide how to handle the situation. The shooter barricaded himself in the room and that calls for a different procedure than a typical hostage situation, true, but the fact is that a child hiding from the shooter called 911 repeatedly and begged for the police to come. They were there and did nothing. Police had to have heard the shots ringing out as children died.

For the police department to issue a statement of relief that their officers were not killed during the mass shooting is inexcusable. Nineteen children died and two forty-something teachers died. It’s crazy that we have to state the obvious – police are trained to go toward the danger, not stop and wait for the situation to settle down. They were equipped with body armor and weapons. They’ve been trained. The police department brags about its SWAT unit. Instead of going in and doing their job, dangerous as it is, the people in charge of the scene were telling the officers to hang back. Other officers outside were handcuffing and even arresting hysterical parents just trying to get to their children. What a sh*t show.

It’s time to fire the officers involved who didn’t take matters into their own hands and rescue those children. Thank God the Border Patrol finally arrived and did the job of local law enforcement. People must be held accountable. I don’t like criticizing police officers, as a general rule, but in this case they must be held accountable. And, for God’s sake, the Uvalde Police Department has to get a new communications officer.

We call first responders and law enforcement heroes when they do their job. They take an oath to serve and protect. They run into the danger, not away.

It should be noted that the school district police chief is set to take a seat on the city council. He hasn’t been seen since Tuesday’s mass shooting.

The school district police chief who held officers back during Tuesday’s chilling massacre is set to join the Uvalde City Council, according to reports.

Officer Pete Arredondo’s bungled orders resulted in the slowed response of at least 19 cops at Robb Elementary School, where a gunman opened fire and killed 19 students and two teachers, according to NBC News.

Arredondo was elected to the Uvalde City Council in the municipal election on May 7 after tallying up nearly 70 percent of the vote, Uvalde Leader-News reports.

At a news conference on Friday, Col. Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, implied Arredondo’s orders caused the police force’s slow response to the mass shooting.

It’s hard to believe that he would be allowed to take office after this. He has proven himself unworthy of holding public office. The people of Uvalde deserve better.

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