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Uvalde (Texas) district suspends police force as investigation of shooting response continues

Oct. 10, 2022
Officers who responded to the deadly May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary have been criticized for failing to confront the shooter.

The Uvalde (Texas) school district has suspended all of its police department’s activities as questions continue to arise about the department's response to the May shooting at Robb Elementary School that left 21 people dead.

The Texas Tribune reports that the district’s decision to suspend its police department comes 10 days after protesters set up at the Uvalde district administrative building to demand the removal of officers from campus grounds until investigations into the police department’s response to the shooting are complete.

The announcement coincides with the disclosure that Uvalde Superintendent Hal Harrell plans to retire.

Police Lt. Miguel Hernandez and Ken Mueller have placed on leave, and other officers employed with the department will fill other roles in the district.

"Recent developments have uncovered additional concerns with department operations," the Uvalde district said in a news release.

Last week, the school district fired a recently hired district police officer after it became public that she was one of the first state troopers to arrive at Robb Elementary on May 24. The delayed police response has drawn wide scrutiny and remains under investigation.

School officials fired Crimson Elizondo after CNN reported she was among at least five current and former Texas Department of Public Safety officers the agency is investigating for their response to the shooting.

A July 28 memo from the Department of Public Safety to the school district flagged that an allegation of “actions inconsistent with training and Department requirements” regarding Elizondo remained under investigation. It is unclear whether Elizondo was hired before or after the district received the memo.

Hernandez had been leading the school district’s police force since the school board fired the previous chief, Pete Arredondo, who had received much of the early blame for law enforcement’s delayed response in confronting the gunman.

Upon suspending the police department, the district asked the Department of Public Safety for extra troopers for campus and extracurricular activities, according to the Friday news release.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy has been writing about education for American School & University since 1999. He also has reported on schools and other topics for The Chicago Tribune, The Kansas City Star, The Kansas City Times and City News Bureau of Chicago. He is a graduate of Michigan State University.

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