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Uvalde leaders add assistant police chief position

Lieutenant Mariano Pargas was temporary head of the force during the May 24 Robb Elementary mass shooting, due to Chief Daniel Rodriguez being out of town.

UVALDE, Texas — Uvalde City Council will create an Assistant Chief of Police position after the shooting at Robb Elementary.

City leaders say they’ve already budgeted for the new salary. After a wild council meeting Tuesday, Uvalde city leaders voiced support for creating an assistant chief of police position.

But Mayor Don McLaughlin said he opposes promoting a current Uvalde PD employee to the role.

Currently, one of three lieutenants takes command when Chief Daniel Rodriguez is out of town or unavailable.

Rodriguez was on vacation May 24, when a gunman killed 21 people inside Robb Elementary school. Lt. Mariano Pargas acted as the city’s police chief during law enforcement’s response to the shooting.

In a comprehensive report on the tragedy, a Texas House committee said Pargas stood up an ineffective command post outside the school.

City leaders placed Pargas on administrative leave while an independent investigator reviews Pargas’s decisions and the department’s overall response.

“With the tragedy that befell our community on May 24th, I think we’re at that point that we need that extra set of management or eyes there,” McLaughlin said Tuesday.

The mayor said Rodriguez asked for an assistant in two prior years. The chief briefly voiced his support for the move during Tuesday’s council meeting.

McLaughlin added that he expects the assistant chief to be in Uvalde when the chief is out of town, and vice versa.

Councilman Chip King said the city’s budget committee has already worked the position into the city’s budget for the coming fiscal year. 

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