As public outrage grows over the delayed police response to the mass shooting at a Texas elementary school, many are questioning whether they can rely on law enforcement should they find themselves in a similar disaster.
That concern is sure to increase following a bombshell report from The New York Times Thursday, June 9, that heavily armed police officers delayed confronting the 18-year-old gunman in Uvalde, Texas for over an hour - even though supervisors knew wounded students were trapped - out of concern for officer safety.
Since the May 24 Uvalde shooting, social media has been flooded with those opining how police actually have no obligation to save a person.
And to many people’s surprise, the courts have agreed with that assertion.
In fact, the US Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that police have no constitutional duty to protect a person from harm. The ruling was in response to a Colorado woman’s lawsuit arguing that a local police department had refused to protect her and her children from the woman’s husband.
That sentiment was reaffirmed in 2018 when survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida sued the Broward County sheriff’s deputy who stayed outside as students and teachers were shot.
A federal judge ruled that despite public expectations to the contrary, police have no constitutional obligation to protect people unless they are in their custody.
So what should you expect from police should America’s scourge of gun violence arrive at your door?
Daily Voice reached out to local law enforcement agencies and asked what exactly is expected of officers who respond to a mass shooting situation.
“State Troopers are specifically trained to respond to active shooter situations and take immediate action to stop someone who is endangering the lives of others, even if it compromises their own safety,” said Beau Duffy, director of public information for New York State Police. “Our members’ top priority is always the safety of the public.”
In the Hudson Valley, Ulster County Sheriff Juan Figueroa echoed that sentiment.
“The members of this office are trained for immediate response to shootings,” Figueroa said. “A contact team or individual officer will immediately remove and swiftly engage the threat.”
The feeble police response in Uvalde is made all the more baffling by the fact that law enforcement training for years has specifically instructed officers to immediately locate and “neutralize” a mass shooter, Katherine Schweit, a former FBI special agent, told NPR.
On Wednesday, June 8, the Justice Department announced it will lead a formal review of the police response in Uvalde.
“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 DOJ said in a statement.
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