- Uncertain is the duration of the school district police suspension.
- It’s a victory, albeit a modest one. We have not finished.
The entire district police force in Uvalde, Texas, has been suspended after receiving scathing criticism for its police department’s shortcomings both during and after the elementary school shooting on May 24.
Hal Harrell, the superintendent of the Uvalde school district, made his retirement announcement a few hours later. Although a retirement date for Harrell was not specified, the school board will discuss the transition on Monday in private.
In light of the police department’s suspension, the district said it has asked for more Texas Department of Public Safety troopers to be stationed on campuses and at extracurricular events. It added, “We are confident that staff and student safety will not be compromised during this transition.”
Uncertain is the duration of the school district police suspension.
In the wake of the shooting that claimed the lives of 19 students and two teachers, Lt. Miguel Hernandez and Ken Mueller, the director of student services for the UCISD, were put on administrative leave.
Hernandez acknowledged in communication with law enforcement in August that he had received official notice from DPS that a candidate for the school police force in Uvalde was being investigated for her response at Robb Elementary.
The school district reports that Mueller made the decision to retire.
According to the school district, “Officers currently employed will fill other roles in the district.” The district’s website lists four officers and one security guard among them.
Families of the victims had been holding a 24-hour vigil outside the school district’s administrative offices, demanding change, under the leadership of Brett Cross, the guardian of 10-year-old victim Uziyah Garcia. The families are now applauding the police department’s announcement from last Friday.
Cross said, visibly moved, “We’ve got a little bit of accountability.” So, it’s a victory, and we don’t often get those.
The suspension of the department was “what we’ve been asking for — it’s more than we’ve been asking for,” according to Kimberly Rubio, whose daughter Lexi was killed at Robb.
“They don’t know how to hire people, they don’t know how to vet officers.” “They didn’t give the right training.”
Jackie Cazares, a 9-year-old girl, was killed, and Gloria Cazares described the department’s suspension as “bittersweet.”
It’s a victory, albeit a modest one. We have not finished.
Grandmother of the victim Amerie Jo Garza, Berlinda Arreola, added, “This is the perfect example of why we didn’t stop.”
“Since there are still children attending school here, we will continue. Numerous siblings of the deceased attend our school, “said she. “We want to make sure that our children are safe and secure. We also want to make sure that those guarding them are willing to do so.”
One day after Crimson Elizondo was fired from her position with the Uvalde school district despite being under investigation for her actions as a DPS trooper during the massacre, the department was put on administrative leave.
The shooter gained entry to the Robb hallway, and Elizondo was the first DPS agent to enter it. The findings of a DPS internal review were detailed to News, and the trooper did not bring her rifle or vest into the school.
The trooper was one of seven DPS employees whose actions are currently being looked into by the inspector general of the organization due to possible failure to follow standard procedures.
The seven were put on administrative leave, but since Elizondo left DPS to work for the Uvalde schools, she was no longer subject to any internal punishments or sanctions. If her actions were found to be illegal or improper, the DPS inspector general’s final report would still contain information about it.
The Texas Police Chiefs Association and the private investigative company JPPI Investigations have been conducting investigations into the school district police department, the school district said in a statement on Friday. However, “recent developments have uncovered additional concerns with department operations,” the statement said.
The findings of the JPPI investigation “will guide the department’s rebuilding and the hiring of a new Chief of Police,” according to the statement. The Texas Police Chiefs Association review “will inform future personnel decisions.”
Pete Arredondo, the police chief for the school district, was let go in August.