Parents of victims react as Uvalde school district suspends police officers 2022
The entire district police force in Uvalde school, 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 debate the transition on Monday in private.
In light of the police department’s suspension, the district said it had 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 massacre that claimed the lives of 19 students and two instructors, Lt. Miguel Hernandez and Ken Mueller, the director of student services for the UCISD, were put on administrative leave.
Hernandez acknowledged in a correspondence with law enforcement in August that he had gotten 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 system reports that Mueller made the decision to retire.
According to the school system, “Officers currently hired will fill other duties in the district.” The district’s website lists four cops and one security guard among them.
Families of the victims had been conducting a 24-hour vigil outside the school district’s administrative offices, demanding reform, 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.
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.
The victim’s grandma, Berlinda Arreola, continued, “This is the ideal example of why we didn’t stop.”
“There are still kids here that attend school, so we’re going to keep going. Many of the departed’s siblings attend this school, “She spoke. “We want to guarantee the safety and protection of our children. Additionally, we want to confirm that those guarding them are willing to do so.”
One day after Crimson Elizondo was fired from her position with the Uvalde school district while being under investigation for her actions as a DPS trooper during the massacre, the department was put on administrative leave.
The gunman got admission to the Robb hallway, and Elizondo was the first DPS agent to enter it.
The trooper was one of seven DPS employees whose conduct is currently being looked into by the organization’s inspector general due to their failure to follow normal procedures. The seven were suspended, but Elizondo was exempt from internal punishment or discipline after leaving DPS to work for the Uvalde schools. Even if her actions were determined to be against the law or a DPS policy, the inspector general’s final report would still include them.
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 inquiry “will influence the department’s rebuilding and the selection of a new Chief of Police,” according to the statement. The Texas Police Chiefs Association evaluation “will impact future personnel decisions.”