As events unfold in Uvalde Tx. we are all shocked and horrified by the level of death. Of course, many table pounders will look for blame. But, there is only one person to blame – the shooter.
As this murderous rampage is analyzed, policing must critically look at how we respond to these events without being defensive. Examine what decisions were made, by whom and when, and how they affected the outcome. That formulates policy. Policy drives training and tactics. Training and tactics save lives. We are not like the military which trains constantly for battle, nor are we the fire department which has time to train. That is a failing of police chiefs and sheriffs around the nation own. Police executives must do better.
Based on reports, it appears that the breach and entry took far too long. Kids died as a result. The police did not rapidly eliminate the threat. If true, this cannot be acceptable. It sounds like, in their minds, it became a barricaded gunman with hostages. I am sure cops wanted to charge the hill. But they didn’t. If shots are fired in a soft target like a school, it must be an active shooter in our minds. We go in. Immediately.
Policing is a very dangerous profession. You know that. You have experienced it. Yet, you do it anyway. If there is a shooter or shots fired in a soft target, go in. We don’t wait. No hesitation. No equivocation. Just pure and raw courage. Use cover and concealment to protect you, but go in! We are the ones with armor and guns. We’ve been entrusted with incredible power. An active shooter is when we must use the power given to us. I know I ask a lot of you. I am not looking for a suicide mission. Your family matters greatly. Policing is the job we have chosen.
Each of us decided when we swore an oath and pinned on a badge. We made the decision that we would potentially lay down our lives for others. I don’t want to die, but damn, we must be willing to make that sacrifice. So, in the quiet corners of your mind, examine if you are ready to go into gunfire to save kids, co-workers, or strangers. If you cannot, I understand. Let me help you find a different job.
If you are not in a physical or mental condition to perform at the highest level, let us know how we can help you can get there. This job is too important not to perform at our best. Be present. Be tough. Be ready to fight for the lives of those we love and are responsible for protecting. That also means you have to be 10-8, and ready to go.
There is an old saying, “There is no greater love than those willing to lay down their life for a stranger’s life.” Easy to say, hard to come to accept.
I am proud to wear the badge of Palm Springs PD. I am willing to die for you and our community. And, to quote the great poet Toby Keith, “I don’t wanna die for you, but if dying’s asked of me, I’ll wear that badge with honor cause freedom don’t come free.”