from the failure-to-provide-the-most-essential-of-services:-saving-lives dept
The Uvalde (Texas) PD’s response to a school shooting was to show up and then do nothing for more than an hour. Nearly 400 law enforcement officers from multiple agencies hung back as a gunman terrorized a classroom full of elementary school students, ultimately killing 19 kids and two teachers.
The officers at the scene prevented parents from attempting to rescue their children and threatened certain parents with parole violations if they talked to the press. The immediate fallout was mostly composed of law enforcement officers and officials trying to save themselves by refusing to honestly discuss the event and going to court to prevent documents about the shooting response from being released to the public.
But stonewalling only worked for so long. Uvalde police chief Pete Arredondo — the person assumed to be the commanding officer on the scene — was fired by the city three months after the shooting. That possibly solved one problem, but the school district itself is creating its own problems. The district hired officer Crimson Elizondo to help patrol schools despite her being under investigation by her former employer, the Texas Department of Safety, for her actions during the Uvalde elementary school shooting.
Elizondo has since been fired by the district. But this has only highlighted the massive dysfunction that still permeates the school’s on-campus police force. Since it doesn’t appear to be able to be fixed — at least not with the personnel currently in place — the district has finally been forced to deploy its nuclear option.
The Uvalde, Texas, school district — still facing withering criticism over its police department’s failings both during the May 24 elementary school massacre and since — announced the suspension of the entire district police force on Friday.
That’s what qualifies as good news in Uvalde. But it’s surrounded by even worse news and even more indications the district’s police force has been an unaccountable mess. Following this ejection of the current force, the district’s superintendent, Hal Herrell, announced his retirement. The officer placed in charge of the school’s cops (Lt. Miguel Hernandez) and the district’s director of student services (Ken Mueller) have both been placed on administrative leave.
Lt. Hernandez is hopefully heading towards a firing. He knew the officer the district hired was currently under investigation.
Hernandez acknowledged in a law enforcement communication in August that he’d received formal notification from DPS that an officer applying to Uvalde’s school police force was under investigation for her response at Robb Elementary.
This delayed notice also suggests former officer Elizondo was not forthright about her pending investigation. She resigned while under investigation, which has the practical effect of keeping any negative findings off her permanent law enforcement record. So, it appears to be a combination of carelessness and dishonesty, something that was only going to widen the rift between the school district’s police force and the public that has been seeking an explanation as to how the response to a school shooting could have been so badly bungled.
The remaining officers on the district police force (only four remain employed) will perform “other functions.” Unfortunately, the district still somehow believes law enforcement officers are integral to the task of educating children (but apparently not responsible for ensuring their safety), so other cops are on the way.
The district said it’s requested more Texas Department of Public Safety troopers to be stationed on campuses and at extracurricular activities amid the police department suspension, adding, “We are confident that staff and student safety will not be compromised during this transition.”
But staff and student safety were already compromised. That much was made clear during the May school shooting. Changing the color of the uniforms isn’t going to fix what’s wrong with the concept of allowing law enforcement to handle school discipline problems. And it’s not going to make the parents of Uvalde feel their children are any better protected.
Filed Under: police, texas, uvalde, uvalde police
Source by www.techdirt.com