UVALDE, Texas — Uvalde parents were stunned Monday when district officials told them they’d not yet audited or investigated their own police department’s response to the shooting at Robb Elementary.
Trustees asked for patience with the legal process they say they started by firing chief of police Pete Arredondo, who should’ve commanded law enforcement’s response.
Lt. Mike Hernandez, a school police officer who was at Robb on May 24, will act as interim chief when classes resume on Sept. 6. Parents and community activists asked board members to suspend the entire department, pending a third-party investigation into their response to the shooting.
“To appoint him chief is insulting,” said Diana Olvedo-Karau, a Uvalde resident who frequently attends community meetings. “Those were the people who failed us.”
Superintendent Hal Harrell told concerned parents that district police will support 33 Department of Public Safety officers stationed across campuses this year. The state police, he says, will be primarily responsible for school safety and security.
But Harrell doesn’t yet know who those officers are and he couldn’t tell attendees whether some of those troopers assigned to UCISD also responded to the shooting at Robb Elementary.
“How do you expect us to trust you?” asked Jesse Rizo, another resident who frequently attends community meetings.
The district has completed security camera installation at the high school. Workers are still adding the surveillance equipment to other campuses.
Fencing work around some campuses is almost complete.
Secure vestibules will not be ready by the first day of school. Heavy doors are on backorder, Harrell said.
Three officers from outside Uvalde have so far agreed to join the UCISD police force. The district is still trying to hire counselors and school monitors, charged with inspecting campus facilities each day.
More than 130 students have so far enrolled in virtual classes through the district. It’s not yet clear how many students have transferred out of UCISD.