Active Shooter Response: Police Priority is to Neutralize Threat

Since Hawkeye’s January post, the Department of Justice has published its report on the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, TX. I would like to move beyond this incident, as it continues to sicken me, but there are too many lessons to be learned from the incident to simply drop it. Furthermore, to do so would dishonor the lives lost in this tragedy.

I have no intention of dissecting the 610-page report in its entirety, but there are some lessons to be learned. For those interested in reading the full report, you can do so here. In summary, the report reflects much of what I mentioned in my previous post. The lives lost lie, in large part, at the foot of failed law enforcement response.

…the CIR team identified several critical failures and other breakdowns prior to, during, and after the Robb Elementary School response and analyzed the cascading failures of
leadership, decision-making, tactics, policy, and training that contributed to those failures and breakdowns.

Critical Incident Review: Active Shooter at Robb Elementary School, Department of Justice, pg. 18

Though blame in its entirety must be placed upon the shooter in these incidents,
in this case, the “cascading failures” of the law enforcement response carry much of the responsibility here.

Many of the findings outlined in the report are very consistent with the Hawkeye approach to teaching this material to our clients. The failures of law enforcement in
this case only serves to solidify Hawkeye’s motto: If you are going to survive an event like this, you have to save yourself.

If civilians on scene have not self-evacuated, it is likely that evacuations will occur after the shooter is

Critical Incident Review: Active Shooter at Robb Elementary School, Department of Justice, pg. 126

Additionally, the report infers that law enforcement’s mission in these incidents is to seek
out and neutralize the threat first and foremost. The mission of law enforcement is not to rescue you or save you; that is simply a byproduct of the mission. If law enforcement’s active shooter response is still so imperfect, you’re going to want to think twice about entrusting them with your survival.


  • Dan Skoczylas

    Dan began his career in law enforcement as a patrolman with the Hickory Hills Police Department in 1989. Dan spent several years serving in a patrol function before taking on the assignment of developing the agency’s first Gang/ Narcotics Unit. After overseeing this project for a couple of years Dan was assigned to the United States Customs Task Force where he served from 1997-1999, working international narcotics smuggling and money laundering cases in a federal jurisdiction. Dan returned to the Hickory Hills Police Department as a Detective until being promoted to Sergeant in 2001 and then to Lieutenant in 2007. Dan Retired from the Hickory Hills Police Department in 2014. Dan is a founding member of CLS Background Investigations / Makton Investigations. He oversees the private sector background investigations program for CLS and a is a Supervisory Investigator for Makton. Dan is the primary license holder for Hawkeye Security and the author of “If You’re Looking For A Victim… Keep Looking!”

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