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Tampa Bay area woman joins team reviewing police response to Uvalde deadly school shooting

Laura McElroy is former ABC Action News reporter
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Posted at 1:01 PM, Jun 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-09 15:16:07-04

TAMPA, Fla. — A Tampa Bay area woman and former ABC Action News reporter has been named as one of the nine experts to review the law enforcement response to the deadly school shooting last month in Uvalde, Texas.

Laura McElroy, CEO of McElroy Media Group, along with the other experts, "will examine issues including policies, training, communications, deployment and incident command, tactics, and practices as they relate to preparing for and responding to active shooter events, as well as the post-incident response. It will also include a review of survivor and victim family support and resources."

McElroy was a spokesperson for the Tampa Police Department before setting up her own consultant group. According to her website, she helps police departments with their "best practices in crisis communication."

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Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the critical incident review team on Wednesday. Per his announcement, "The goal of the review is to provide an independent account of law enforcement actions and responses; identify lessons learned and best practices to help first responders prepare for and respond to active shooter events; and provide a roadmap for community safety and engagement before, during, and after such incidents."

"I am honored to have been selected by the U.S. Department of Justice to serve on the Critical Incident Review Team for the Uvalde School Shooting," McElroy said. "I’m committed to drawing on my experience developing national best practices in transparency and accountability for law enforcement, as the review teams focuses on the very important work of finding out what happened in Uvalde and using that knowledge to improve law enforcement response to critical incidents and helping communities in the aftermath of such tragedies."

McElroy worked as a reporter at ABC Action News from 1994 to 2004 and was a Tampa Police communication director from 2004-2015. Since she retired from Tampa Police, she has been a Department of Justice subject matter expert since 2015 and helped local agencies around the country improve their transparency and accountability.

In addition to McElroy, the critical incident review, which will be led by the Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office), includes:

  • Chief Rick Braziel (retired), Sacramento, Calif.
  • Deputy Chief Gene Deisinger (retired), Virginia Tech, Va.
  • Director of Public Safety Frank Fernandez (retired), Coral Gables, Fla.
  • Albert Guarnieri, FBI Unit Chief.
  • Major Mark Lomax (retired), Pennsylvania State Police, Pa.
  • Sheriff John Mina, Orange County, Fla.
  • April Naturale, Assistant Vice President, Vibrant Emotional Health
  • Chief Kristen Ziman (retired), Aurora, Ill.

The COPS Office will release a final report at the completion of the group's comprehensive review.