Ahead of the release of part of the official police report on the Sandy Hook Elementary School spree killing, courant.com reports that the police responding to the school did so in a less-than-timely manner. “Among the aspects of the response under scrutiny was a decision by the first responding Newtown officer to park nearly a quarter mile away at the top of the driveway to the school and wait for other officers to arrive, sources familiar with the investigation said. Those officers moved to the school on foot along the tree line . . . Dispatch records indicate the first 911 call came in just before 9:36 and the first officer arrived at the school at about 9:37:30. The dispatch tapes indicate there were officers in the school at 9:44, but don’t make clear exactly when the first officer entered.” More on that timeline . . .
One family member who requested anonymity said the report did include a timeline and that [Danbury State’s Attorney Stephen] Sedensky told them during the meeting state police and Newtown officers entered the building simultaneously . . .
The first state troopers to arrive at the school came from Troop A in Southbury. Sources with knowledge of the investigation said many of them went in the school through a door that was smashed open by members of the Statewide Narcotics Task Force on the corner of the building near the playground. Others went through the glass window that Lanza shot out. Newtown police entered through the rest of the school and the boiler room.
As we surmised, the Newtown cops did not follow active shooter protocol: enter upon arrival, locate and engage the threat with all due speed. Children died while the cops rallied.
Dispatch records indicate that about three minutes after the initial 911 call, a dispatcher told the officers that the shooting had stopped and the school was in lockdown. Within a minute of that report, the dispatcher alerted officers that teachers could hear shooting and states the “shooter is apparently still shooting in the officer area.”
We still don’t know the exact chain of events. But it’s now clear that some members of the Newtown police force arrived, waited for backup, then entered. Whether the first responding police officers could have prevented some of those deaths may be a moot point for the parents of the victims and survivors, but it’s not for those of us who have children in school.
We need to know exactly what went wrong that horrible day, so that deficiencies can be addressed and children’s lives protected. One thing’s for certain: the post-Newtown “debate” over civilian disarmament would have been different if this information had come to light soon after the shooting. As it should have.
Shame on the Connecticut police and Constitution State politicians for sacrificing children’s safety on the altar of their personal, professional and political ambitions.