State Watch

Uvalde school district suspends entire police force

AP Photo/Eric Gay, File
Reggie Daniels pays his respects a memorial at Robb Elementary School on June 9, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas. Nearly 400 law enforcement officials rushed to the mass shooting that left 21 people dead at the elementary school but “systemic failures” created a chaotic scene that lasted more than an hour before the gunman was finally confronted and killed, according to a report from investigators released Sunday, July 17, 2022.

The Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District (CISD) suspended its entire police force on Friday after months of complaints from the families of victims killed by a gunman at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, in May.

The school district announced that the department was suspended following recent developments that “uncovered additional concerns with department operations.”

“As a result of the recent developments, Lt. Miguel Hernandez and Ken Mueller have been placed on administrative leave, and the District has made the decision to suspend all activities of the Uvalde CISD Police Department for a period of time,” wrote spokesperson Anne Marie Espinoza in a statement.

Hernandez and Mueller, who was the CISD’s director of student services, were at the forefront of the school district’s police response to the mass shooting, which killed 19 children and two adults. Mueller has opted to retire due to his suspension, according to Espinoza.

The suspension of Uvalde’s school district police force follows heavy criticism by both families and officials of the police response to the shooting at Robb Elementary School.

Officers waited for more than an hour before entering the school, according to probes that began the week after the shooting, disregarding training that told them to intervene in violent situations immediately.

The Texas Police Chiefs Association, in partnership with third-party organization JPPI Investigations, will continue to conduct a Management and Organizational Review to analyze the response of the CISD Police Department.

The results of that investigation, expected to be released later this month, will determine the future of the police force.

“The results of this review will guide the rebuilding of the department and the hiring of a new Chief of Police,” the statement said.

The Uvalde school district’s ex-police chief, Pete Arredondo, was terminated in late August after being placed on leave shortly after the shooting.

The Texas Department of Public Safety will send additional troopers to the Uvalde school district to monitor campuses until officials are able to reconstruct the police force.

“We are confident that staff and student safety will not be compromised during this transition,” the CISD wrote.

Updated at 2:25 p.m.

Tags School shooting Uvalde shooting
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