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Former APD Police Chief Art Acevedo breaks down police response in Uvalde

"They should have charged, charged, charged and done whatever it took, whatever had to be done, to gain entry and neutralize that threat so they could save lives."

AUSTIN, Texas — Tanvi Varma: What are some takeaways from today’s hearing?

Former APD Police Chief Art Acevedo: It was very troubling because what we’re confirming today once again is that the Uvalde response was absolutely abhorrent. It’s appeared more and more as more is uncovered that the police chief of the school district made decisions on the safety of his officers, instead of on the safety and the lives of unarmed children and unarmed school teachers. A lot of bad things happened and unfortunately lives were lost that potentially could have been saved, weren’t saved.

What do you think they could have done differently?

Follow your training. Adhere to your oath of office and that is to put yourself on the line to save innocent children. And in this case what should have happened is, when you see a hallway with police officers, with long rifles, with shields, now we’re finding out that it appears that the doors was never even locked. You didn’t even check the door? They should have charged, charged, charged and done whatever it took, whatever had to be done, to gain entry and neutralize that threat so they could save lives.

How do you think they should operate in the future?

Well look, what they should do quite honestly, is what we’ve seen is we have a very poor structure in this country. We have way too many police departments. When you have a six-officer department maybe it’s time to start considering consolidation of forces, consolidation of departments, so we can have, I believe, better controls, better training, better policies and more consistency across the nation. What I like to see in the future is a department that is trained, and a department that is expected and a department that will do anything it can to put itself on the line, their lives on the line, to save innocent lives, and that’s what I think the American people want, and that’s what people in Uvalde should want moving forwards. And unfortunately they didn’t get that here.

One thing that they were discussing was a lag in communication. Is that something you think they can work on, and if so how?

Well first and foremost, when we look at transcripts, alleged transcripts, for a police chief that’s calling for his radio, that’s a problem. You don’t respond as a scene commander, as an incident commander, somebody whose responsible for the safety of that school, without your radio, without basic communication tools, one. Two, there’s more and more information that they knew that the radios don’t work well inside those facilities, inside those buildings. That’s an officer safety issue, that’s a public safety issue, that’s an issue in terms of being able to effectively navigate any kind of tactical problem, and so I’m hopeful that what will happen here in the future – not just here in Uvalde but across the country – is that we make sure we have radio systems that work. 

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