Uvalde Schools Suspend Its Entire Police Force and Place Two School Officials on Administrative Leave
Uvalde’s school police force has been officially suspended less than five months after the May 24 Robb Elementary massacre that left 19 students and two teachers dead. Lieutenant Miguel Hernandez and Superintendent Ken Mueller have also been placed on administrative leave, the latter of whom has voluntarily resigned.
According to CNN, a statement from the district reads, “The District has made the decision to suspend all activities of the Uvalde CISD Police Department for a period of time. Officers currently employed will fill other roles in the district.”
The decision to suspend the entire school police force follows the hiring and subsequent firing of former Texas trooper Crimson Elizondo who was present at the Robb Elementary massacre and is currently under investigation for her response to the shooting, reports NBC News.
In a statement released on Thursday October 6, the district said, “We sincerely apologize to the victim’s families and the greater Uvalde community for the pain that this revelation has caused.” State Senator Roland Gutierrez responded to news, as well, and agreed that Elizondo’s hiring “slapped this community in the face.”
However, Uvalde residents made it clear that firing Elizondo was not enough, and demanded to know more about why she was hired in the first place.
As of now, the UCISD has not explained their reasoning for hiring Elizondo in the first place, as they would have surely known she was one of the responding officers and was still under investigation for her response to the shooting.
“We are disgusted and angry at Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District’s (UCISD) decision to hire Officer Crimson Elizondo. Her hiring puts into question the credibility and thoroughness of UCISD’s HR and vetting practices,” the families of the victims said in a statement. “It confirms what we have been saying all along: UCISD has not and is not in the business of ensuring the safety of our children at school.”
Protests in the community have been led by Brett Cross, the legal guardian to 10-year-old Uziyah Garcia, who was killed in the attack. According to Dallas Morning News, Cross has been documenting the protests on Twitter since they first began on September 27 and even camped outside the school for a total of 245 hours before the district agreed to fire Elizondo and suspend all school police officers from the UCISD.
As the UCISD continues its investigation into the school police officers who were present during the shooting, they’ve asked the Texas Department of Safety to send Texas troopers to fill in for the school police officers. “We are confident that staff and student safety will not be compromised during this transition,” said the district in a statement.
Until the investigation is completed, officers employed by the district will be given reassignments and the UCISD will be working with the Texas Police Chiefs Association to continue investigating and reviewing its police force.
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