DOJ names team of experts to help review police response to Uvalde shooting

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(WASHINGTON) — Attorney General Merrick Garland has named a team of nine law enforcement experts to advise the Justice Department in its review of the law enforcement response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

The goal of the review, according to the DOJ, will be 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.”

At an appearance Wednesday announcing plans for the review, Garland said that members of the review team will conduct regular site visits to Uvalde and interview a “wide variety” of stakeholders, including law enforcement, government officials, school officials, witnesses, families of the victims and community members.

The team of experts includes several members of law enforcement who handled the response to previous major mass shootings or led similar review teams.

Team members include retired Sacramento, California, police chief Rick Braziel, retired Virginia Tech deputy chief Gene Deisinger, retired Coral Gables, Florida, public safety director Frank Fernandez, FBI Unit Chief Albert Guarnieri, retired Pennsylvania State Police Major Mark Lomax, McElroy Media Group CEO Laura McElroy, Orange County, Florida, sheriff John Mina, Vibrant Emotional Health assistant vice president April Naturale, and retired Aurora, Illinois, chief Kristen Ziman.

Asked whether he was concerned about the lack of transparency thus far from authorities in Uvalde, and whether the team leading the review will have the tools necessary in the event that officials choose to not cooperate, Garland cited assurances from Uvalde’s mayor, who had asked the DOJ to conduct its independent review.

“As I said, we’ve been invited by the mayor, we have been promised, assured and welcomed with respect to cooperation at every level of law enforcement — state, federal and local — and we’ll participate in that vein,” Garland said. “We don’t expect any problems.”

When pressed further, Garland said, “We expect voluntary cooperation from everybody at every level.”

The attorney general reiterated that the review, as stated earlier, “is not a criminal investigation,” and compared it to past reviews that followed the San Bernardino and Pulse nightclub mass shootings.

The assessment will examine the policies and training that authorities who responded to the shooting had received, and will provide a “complete incident reconstruction” detailing how the various law enforcement agencies responded during and after the shooting, DOJ officials said.

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