The Uvalde school district has suspended its entire campus police department following the fallout from the horrific shooting at Robb Elementary School in Texas that killed 19 children and two teachers in May.
The shocking suspension of the force was announced by the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District on Friday. The statement said:
“The District remains committed to resolving issues with verifiable evidence. Decisions concerning the UCISD police department have been pending the results of the Texas Police Chiefs Association and JPPI investigation. Recent developments have uncovered additional concerns with department operations. … The District has made the decision to suspend all activities of the Uvalde CISD Police Department for a period of time.”
Due to those “recent developments,” Lt. Miguel Hernandez, who was leading the department after the shooting, and Ken Mueller, the UCISD’s director of student services, were placed on administrative leave. However, Muller has since decided to retire. Meanwhile, the other officers currently employed “will fill other roles in the district.” While the length of the suspension has not been specified, the district noted that it requested the Texas Department of Public Safety to provide additional troopers to be stationed on campuses and monitor extracurricular activities. The statement concluded:
“We are confident that staff and student safety will not be compromised during this transition.”
The suspension of the police force comes one day after the firing of Officer Crimson Elizondo, who was hired by the school district despite being under investigation for her conduct as a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper during the massacre. She was one of the first cops to arrive at Robb Elementary two minutes after gunman Salvador Ramos entered the school and opened fire. According to CNN, body camera footage from another officer showed Crimson in her DPS uniform with her handgun drawn, waiting outside the building and then she was later in the hallway briefly. And when someone asked if she had any kids in the school, she could be heard saying at one point:
“If my son had been in there, I would not have been outside. I promise you that.”
Yet, despite being under investigation for her response to the massacre, she was still hired to protect some of the children who survived the shooting. Seriously?! In response to the report, UCISD said in a statement to CNN on Thursday:
“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.”
However, documents obtained by CNN revealed the district knew as early as July 28 that Crimson was under investigation by the department’s Office of Inspector General for actions “inconsistent with training and department requirements.”
Ever since the tragic school shooting, the department has been widely condemned for its response to the incident. A total of 376 police officers responded to the scene at the time – but the shooter was still left alone with students and teachers for 77 minutes before he was stopped. WTF. The director of the Department of Public Safety, Steve McCraw, previously testified in a State Senate hearing cops also could have put a stop to the gunman within three minutes (!!!) after arriving at the school. He explained:
“The officers had weapons; the children had none. The officers had body armor; the children had none. The officers had training; the subject had none. One hour, 14 minutes and eight seconds. That’s how long children waited, and the teachers waited, in Room 111 to be rescued.”
As Steve put it, the event was an “abject failure” of law enforcement to protect the lives of those in the school. Reactions to the suspension, Perezcious readers? Let us know in the comments below.
[Image via NBC News/YouTube, KENS 5/YouTube]