Uvalde School District Shuts Down Police Force

All officers are suspended, and superintendent decided to retire
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 7, 2022 3:30 PM CDT
Uvalde Schools Suspends Entire Police Department
This image from video released by the City of Uvalde shows Texas Department of Public Safety trooper Crimson Elizondo responding to the shooting at Robb Elementary School in May.   (City of Uvalde via AP)

In the face of bitter criticism and unanswered questions about the law enforcement response to the Uvalde mass shooting, the Texas school district on Friday announced that it has suspended its entire police force. District officials said they've asked for state troopers to fill in at campuses and extracurricular activities during the suspension, ABC News reports, without saying how long the suspension will last. Later on Friday, Superintendent Hal Harrell announced his retirement. The May 24 massacre at Robb Elementary School left 19 students and two teachers dead. The victims' families have been protesting the police response and demanding changes.

The district already had fired Pete Arredondo, the department's chief who was in charge of the response at Robb; officers waited more than an hour to charge the gunman. On Friday, his replacement, Lt. Miguel Hernandez, was placed on administrative leave. "Recent developments have uncovered additional concerns with department operations," the district said in a statement, per the New York Times. The police department's website lists five officers, including Hernandez, plus a security guard, on its force. The remaining officers and the guard will be put in other jobs, the district said. In addition, the district's director of student services was put on administrative leave. Ken Mueller will retire, officials said.

On Thursday, the district fired another officer, Crimson Elizondo, after CNN had reported she'd been hired this summer though she's under investigation for her response on May 24, when she was a state trooper. An internal review found she was the first Texas Department of Public Safety officer to arrive in the school hallway after the killer had entered the building, failing to bring her rifle or vest with her, per ABC. The state force suspended the seven officers it has under investigation, including Elizondo, though her resignation to take the Uvalde job put her out of reach of punishment by the state department. (More Uvalde mass shooting stories.)

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