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Retired Aurora police chief selected to review law enforcement response to Uvalde school shooting

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Aurora’s retired police chief Kristen Ziman is one of nine people selected to review law enforcement’s response to the mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, recently that killed 21 people.

Ziman helped prepare a similar after-action report for Aurora’s own mass shooting on Feb. 15, 2019, at Henry Pratt Co. that killed five employees and wounded five police officers and an employee.

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The reports are used by federal emergency management experts to take away lessons learned and to try and prevent future attacks, officials said.

Ziman, who retired from the Aurora Police Department in 2021, will serve on the committee of nine law enforcement experts selected by the U.S. Department of Justice.

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In Texas, the committee will provide an independent account of law enforcement actions and provide a roadmap for community safety and engagement before, during and after such incidents, according to a press release from the Department of Justice.

“Nothing can undo the pain that has been inflicted on the loved ones of the victims, the survivors, and the entire community of Uvalde,” said U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland in a statement. “But the Justice Department can and will use its expertise and independence to assess what happened and to provide guidance moving forward.”

The review team will conduct regular site visits to Uvalde and interview a variety of people including law enforcement, government officials, school officials, witnesses, families of the victims and community members.

Ziman responded to a tweet Wednesday from a man whose son was killed in the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

“The work I’ve been called to do on behalf of the DOJ is for him and all the other lives that were cut short because a monster used an AR-15 to erase futures,” she wrote in a Tweet. “Until my last breath, I will fight.”

In Aurora’s after-action report on the Henry Pratt mass shooting, it praised the police officers for their response but also noted communication and other issues that could be improved in the event of a similar incident. For instance, with more than 42 agencies responding to the shooting, it became hard for officials to know who was on the scene.

Police also did not have access to blueprints of the Henry Pratt warehouse and were unfamiliar with its layout. FEMA recommended the city look into creating an ordinance that requires businesses to number their doors and register information with first responders.

mejones@chicagotribune.com

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