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Area police react to Uvalde school surveillance video

Former Dixon police officer Mark Dallas and Scott County Sheriff Tim Lane both say they expect more from police, in both training and response.

MOLINE, Ill. — A former Dixon, Ill. police officer is speaking out after the release of surveillance video from inside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

Mark Dallas has now viewed the video twice and says his response would have been quite different.

Just after 11:30 a.m. on May 24, 2022, a shooter walked into Rob Elementary.

It's a situation Dallas had trained for when he worked as a school resource officer at Dixon High School.

"We've been training for this since 2001 in Dixon," Dallas said.

That training, though, is not what Dallas saw reflected in the next 77 minutes of video from a Robb Elementary School surveillance camera.

"You go in, you eliminate the threat. It's as simple as that," Dallas said of his training.

Dallas is the officer who confronted and arrested an active shooter at Dixon High School in 2018. Dallas shot the shooter during graduation practice before arresting him.

After reviewing the video from Uvalde, Dallas said his response would have been different.

"I never would have stayed in that hallway," Dallas said. "I would have been in that room."

For more than an hour, officers waited in the hallway. Some in the video are seen retreating after moving down the hallway closer to the shooter and hearing gunshots.

"I'm baffled," Dallas said. "I'm baffled, to see their lack of training or just being ordered to hold. I've been in trouble before and I would have disobeyed that order."

"I see the officers responding to the shots being fired in the school by retreating, and to me, that means the officers were not trained in an environment where gunshots were being fired," said Scott County Sheriff Tim Lane.

Lane has watched the video, too. He said the decision to move back set the tone for the rest of the response inside the school.

"Our training specifically addresses that, and an officer that goes into an active shooter event will have had experience going into a simulated active shooter event hearing real gunshots and using that to identify the location of the shooter," Lane said.

Later in the response, more equipment arrived.

"It's high-dollar equipment just sitting there, doing nothing," Dallas said.

While he analyzes the law enforcement response, Dallas does offer a suggestion from his training in Dixon he believes could have saved lives.

"We would have piled our bodies up to get in there, to him, to engage him," Dallas said. "We would have piled ‘em at the door if we had to. Sad to say, but that’s probably what needed to be done to save the children that were in there."

Dallas also believes the incident in Uvalde serves as a reminder of the importance of school resource officers. The systems in place to prevent school shootings and other tragedies cannot be stopped by an officer that is not there, Dallas said.

Sheriff Lane says his deputies receive special training for active shooter situations. The office conducts yearly training inside school buildings -- in both groups and as individuals -- and has separate training for firearms. School resource officers in the county also receive specific training, Lane said. 

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