Uvalde school district suspends its police force “for a period of time”

Just under five months after the shooting at Robb Elementary School that claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers, the Uvalde school district has suspended its entire police force.

“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 district said in a statement obtained from CNN

In addition to the suspensions, Uvalde school district Superintendent Hal Harrell has announced that he will be retiring and two other officers, Lt. Miguel Hernandez and Ken Mueller, were placed on administrative leave.

“The District has requested the Texas Department of Public Safety to provide additional troopers for campus and extra-curricular activities,” the district said. “We are confident that staff and student safety will not be compromised during this transition.”

Earlier this week, Officer Crimson Elizondo, a state trooper newly hired into her position as a school officer, was fired after an investigation into her actions during the May 24 shooting. According to CNN, Elizondo was “one of the first of the 91 DPS officers to arrive” to the scene of the shooting and her inability to help diffuse the situation added to the belief that the overall response from officers on that day was an “abject failure.”

Elizondo was heard on body camera footage the day of the shooting saying “If my son had been in there, I would not have been outside . . . I promise you that.” This statement had a great impact on the final decision to let her go. 

In a statement released prior to Elizondo’s termination, which went into effect on Thursday, the district had this to say:

“We are deeply distressed by the information that was disclosed yesterday evening concerning one of our recently hired employees, Crimson Elizondo. “We sincerely apologize to the victim’s families and the greater Uvalde community for the pain that this revelation has caused. Ms. Elizondo’s statement in the audio is not consistent with the District’s expectations.”

“Regarding the remaining UCISD Police Department employees, we continue to make personnel decisions based on verifiable information. An independent investigation is underway to evaluate the actions of the current officers on May 24, 2022. Additionally, we are awaiting results of a management and organizational review of the UCISD Police Department that will aid the district in taking informed actions to further ensure the safety and security of our schools,” the statement added.

The result of the independent investigation mentioned in the school district’s statement was seen today in their decision to let everyone go and start from scratch.

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Various family members of children who died in the Uvalde shooting had previously met with the Uvalde school district superintendent to ask for changes to be made, thinking this day may never come.

“We’ve given them 18 weeks to do something, so now we’re not begging anymore—we’re demanding,” Brett Cross, guardian of 10-year-old victim Uziyah Garcia, told ABC News in late September when he and a few others took to camping out in front of the district office to make a clear point. “I’m not leaving until they get this done.”

With the news of these officer suspensions, Cross and the others can make their way home. 

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