Working in law enforcement means being prepared for worst case scenarios, such as an active shooter situation.
After the mass shooting of an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas that left 19 children dead came questions about what could have been done to prevent it and if law enforcement were ready. Sure enough, a Texas state official confirmed Friday that law enforcement at the scene took no action as they waited for room keys and tactical equipment. As the retired county sheriff of Waukesha, Steve Pederson is angered by how the shooting in Uvalde, Texas was handled.
Schmidt said he doesn’t understand how law enforcement waited an hour to breach the building. “I can not for the life of me understand why they had to wait for breaching tools. I can guarantee you that every department, whether it’s a 100 man department or an eight man department here in southeastern Wisconsin, in most squad cars there are ballistic vests or breaching tools, like a halogen bar, something to get in and breach these doors.”
These protocols changed after the mass shooting of Columbine High School in 1999, according to Schmidt, and the first officer on the scene is supposed to be prepared to jump into action. In regards to how Uvalde was handled, Pederson said if it were up to him he would’ve entered classrooms regardless. “I’d go in and find this shooter and engage in whatever it takes.” Schmidt said “If I get shot, if I die or whatever, that’s my job.”
Just days after the mass shooting in Uvalde, Slinger Middle School had a scare of their own. Friday afternoon, a student yelled in a crowded hall ‘I have a gun’ and the school, along with other schools in the district, went into lockdown. The claims ended up being false and the student was brought into custody.
Despite Fridays false alarm, Pederson believes surrounding towns such as Slinger are doing as much as they can to protect students. Pederson said “Law enforcement, and I know for a fact especially here in southeast Wisconsin, is on the top of their game at these types of things. There’s no hesitation whatsoever and I think you’re seeing that from the type of response that went on in Slinger today.”
No gun was found at Slinger Middle School and no injuries were reported. Students were reunited with their parents after the building was cleared by law enforcement.