A Police Officer’s Hot Mic During the Uvalde Shooting Snarled Communications


    Reports indicate that a police officer's “hot mic” jammed the emergency-radio channel during the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting. The source, who wasn't allowed to speak to the public, said that the interagency channel got crowded due to the volume of broadcasts during the incident. The source stated that communications were difficult to listen to at times, when officers from different agencies attempted to share information through the same line.

    As per the report, congestion can hinder certain broadcasts from being sent or make them unintelligible for the receiver. The issue was further complicated by an officer's mistakenly pressing the transmit button, creating a hot microphone for roughly three to five minutes. The source claims that the 911 dispatcher made numerous attempts to transmit a warning about the hot microphone but without success. As per the report, the dispatcher stated that one agency was to remove the channel after reconnecting it to get the channel back on the air. The broadcasting manager spotted that the mistake had been made before the forced disconnect was able to occur.

    The source, who has been involved in emergency situations involving multiple law-enforcement agencies in the past, believes that patching multiple responding agencies into one channel can be difficult. In spite of the mess, this source was awed by the 911 dispatcher's efforts, stating that grouping communications is their only hope of understanding the response of each agency in the event of an emergency.

    The information supplied by the source raises doubts about what kind of information emergency responders and on-scene commanders were in a position to receive directly from 911 dispatchers in the local area. The law-enforcement officers who responded in the aftermath of the incident entered the school approximately 20 minutes after the shooter's arrival–two were injured by gunshots. The shooter had entered an unlocked classroom and hid himself behind the locked steel door, which was manufactured to safeguard students from such a situation.

    Law-enforcement officials who responded have come under massive scrutiny following remarks given by Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw during a press conference on Friday. McCraw criticized the decision of Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Chief of Police Pete Arredondo regarding the length of time required for the officers to break into the classroom. The door could be opened only after officers had secured a key from a student who was sheltered elsewhere on campus. Some officers have received death threats as a result of the incident. At the press event, McCraw also blamed a teacher for having a door held open on the outside by a rock, which, he said, let the shooter in easily. A DPS (Department of Public Safety) spokesperson retracted the statement several days later, after the teacher's lawyer denied the claims.


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