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Director Hugh T. Clements, Jr. of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services Delivers Remarks on the Justice Department’s Report on its Critical Incident Review of the Response to the Mass Shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas


Uvalde, TX
United States

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

I know that nothing can take away the pain suffered by the families, the survivors, and the entire Uvalde community. But I do know that the team at the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) has been driven to provide an authoritative accounting of everything that transpired at Robb Elementary on May 24, 2022, as well as the events leading up to it, and an examination of what happened afterward.

As someone with 38 years’ experience in law enforcement – the last 12 of those as Chief of the Providence Police Department – I know the importance of having the right policies in place, the right training, and the right partnerships – especially law enforcement partnerships with schools, communities, and other agencies and first responders. This report stresses the importance of those working relationships and how invaluable they are, especially when there’s a critical incident.

Of course, no one ever thinks something like this is going to happen in their community – until it does; which is why the recommendations we provide in this report are so critically important.

Unfortunately, the review of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School is not the first Critical Incident Review that the COPS Office has done; but having done this before, we know the value of the information provided.

Other Critical Incident Reviews the COPS Office has authored in the past include the reports on the terrorist shooting in San Bernardino, California, and the Pulse nightclub attack in Orlando, Florida. We heard from the agencies involved how valuable these reports were and we know from talking to agencies across the country how they have incorporated the recommendations shared into their own planning.

We have seen how vitally important preparation is, how important it is to have the right policies and procedures in place, how incredibly important training is, and how critical it is that agencies train together.

Reviews such as this can be tremendously helpful to both law enforcement agencies and communities, as they work together to see how they can improve policies, procedures, systems, and – most importantly – relationships. We talk about that and much more in this report, which I know is going to be a very important resource for law enforcement agencies in the months and years to come.

You will see in this report that the team has worked diligently in carrying out a number of critical steps, including developing a complete incident reconstruction, reviewing thousands of relevant documents, conducting site visits, and interviewing a wide variety of stakeholders.

As I said, we know that nothing can take away that pain that this community has endured. But we were dedicated to providing the community with a transparent, independent, and thorough review of what happened, and I believe that this report does just that.

Updated January 18, 2024