It’s important to remember that after the 1999 Columbine shooting, there were new protocols established to address an active school shooter. A review of the law enforcement response at Columbine concluded that arriving officers elected not to enter the school buildings until a SWAT team arrived and made entry some 47 minutes after the first shots were fired.
In the business of saving lives, minutes — and even seconds — count. Awaiting the arrival and assembly of a SWAT team is therefore no longer the preferred practice. Instead, whoever is on scene is supposed to confront the shooter immediately, with the understanding that backup will be on the way. Peterson’s failure to follow the immediate interdiction protocol shows that the lessons of Columbine have not yet been fully implemented and embraced.
Now I know not every member of law enforcement is a hero. And just like in every profession, some are better suited for the “business” than others. But sound training also conditions officers to control their fears and act heroically.