SAN ANTONIO — The Uvalde school board postponed a special meeting, where members were scheduled to discuss firing embattled district Police Chief Pete Arredondo.
Uvalde CISD Superintendent Hal Harrell recommended Arredondo's termination, noting that the district's contract with the chief does not allow administrators to fire the chief at will.
But Arredondo's attorney asked trustees to cancel the Saturday meeting, according to a statement provided by UCISD Friday. Legally, the district cannot terminate Arredondo's contract without first detailing their charges against the chief and allowing him to defend himself.
It's not clear whether Arredondo intends to make his case before the board.
Arredondo has been on paid administrative leave since June 22. The school district announced Friday they will stop paying him.
The UCISD police chief is likely the highest-salaried law enforcement officer in Uvalde County.
Uvalde parents said they were not pleased the district canceled Saturday's meeting.
"There's some outrage out there," said Adam Martinez, father to two children currently enrolled in UCISD schools. His 8-year-old evacuated from Robb Elementary on May 24, when a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at the school.
Martinez says he's not surprised the district canceled the meeting, contending the move is the latest in a string of decisions he calls incompetent.
"They need to get it together," he said. "We have to show we can hold them accountable, otherwise it's just a joke."
Arredondo has been under heavy scrutiny for his response to the shooting. Dozens of law enforcement officers were on scene within minutes of when the shooting first began, but officers did not breach the classroom until 77 minutes after the shooter closed himself in.
The district's active shooter policy called for Arredondo to be incident commander. However, he denies that he was formally in charge.
Texas law enforcement regulators say they’ve received almost daily emails demanding that Arredondo’s policing license be revoked, but officials say it isn’t that simple under state law. One complication is that Arredondo’s firing, should it be approved, would have to be categorized as either an honorable, general or dishonorable discharge.
Two dishonorable discharges would trigger an automatic revoking of a peace officer’s license under Texas law. Arredondo’s employment history shows no indication that he has collected a first one before arriving at Uvalde CISD.
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