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BREAKING: Entire Uvalde School District Police Force Suspended Indefinitely

Uvalde, TX – The Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District (UCISD) suspended its entire police force on Friday.

The announcement of the department-wide suspension came just one day after the school district abruptly fired one of its newest hires, Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Department (UCISDPD) Officer Crimson Elizondo.

Officer Elizondo had previously served as a Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) trooper and was under investigation for her conduct during her response to the May 24 Robb Elementary School massacre when she was hired by the UCISDPD over the summer.

It is unclear how long the suspension of the entire UCISDPD force is expected to last, ABC News reported.

UCISD Director of Student Services Ken Mueller was placed on administrative leave on Friday and elected to retire, according to the news outlet.

UCISDPD Lieutenant Miguel Hernandez, who was put in charge of the school district police department after Chief Pete Arredondo was fired over the delayed police response to the massacre, was also placed on administrative leave, ABC News reported.

District officials said they have requested that more DPS troopers be stationed at extracurricular activities and on school campuses to replace the suspended officers.

“We are confident that staff and student safety will not be compromised during this transition,” UCISD said in a statement, according to ABC News.

The district said it had been holding off on making “decisions” regarding the UCISDPD until the Texas Police Chiefs Association and a third-party private firm’s investigations into law enforcement response to the Robb Elementary School were completed, but that “recent developments” had “uncovered additional concerns with department operations,” ABC News reported.

Outraged family members and Uvalde residents had been demanding the suspension of the school district’s police force for several days in the wake of the revelations regarding Officer Elizondo’s hiring.

On the day of the school massacre, the now-former trooper arrived at Robb Elementary within two minutes of the 18-year-old gunman entering the school, ABC News reported.

She was the first DPS officer to enter the building.

Nearly 400 local, state, and federal law enforcement officers responded to the school as the incident unfolded, but police waited for more than an hour before they breached the classroom and fatally shot the gunman.

Nineteen children and two teachers were murdered and 17 more victims were wounded during the massacre.

Trooper Elizondo was heard in another officer’s bodycam footage talking with her fellow officers about the mass shooting, CNN reported.

“If my son had been in there, I would not have been outside. I promise you that,” she said, according to the news outlet.

According to documents obtained by CNN, the UCISDPD was notified on or before July 28 that Trooper Elizondo was under internal investigation for actions “inconsistent with training and department requirements.”

Details regarding those actions were not released.

Sources familiar with the investigation alleged Trooper Elizondo is one of seven officers currently under investigation, although DPS has not released those officers’ names publicly, CNN reported.

The sources also said Trooper Elizondo told investigators she didn’t have proper equipment to enter the school and that she wasn’t comfortable with the idea of breaching the classroom without it.

She ultimately assisted with evacuating children from the building and helped care for and transport wounded victims from the scene, CNN reported.

Trooper Elizondo later applied for a position with the UCISDPD.

The school district contacted DPS in July as part of the prospective officer’s background screening and was informed in writing that Trooper Elizondo was under investigation for actions that were “inconsistent with training and Department requirements,” according to the Associated Press.

Lt. Hernandez confirmed receipt of the message on Aug. 1, ABC News reported.

“Got it, thank you so much, MRH,” he wrote, according to the news outlet.

It is unclear when the UCISDPD formally offered her a position.

Trooper Elizondo gave DPS notice of her resignation on Aug. 17 and worked her last shift as a trooper on Aug. 29, according to the Associated Press.

The school district police department did not formally announce Officer Elizondo as a new hire, but did have the photos and names of her and other members of the department listed on its website, CNN reported.

But as students filed past Officer Elizondo at the start of the new school year, some of their parents recognized her from bodycam footage of the law enforcement response to the school massacre.

That concern turned to outrage when they discovered she had been hired by the school district despite still being under DPS investigation.

“We are disgusted and angry at Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District’s (UCISD) decision to hire Officer Crimson Elizondo,” a group of family representatives told CNN in a statement. “Her hiring puts into question the credibility and thoroughness of UCISD’s HR and vetting practices.”

The school district abruptly fired Officer Elizondo on Thursday, but families and residents remained outraged over the fact she was ever hired in the first place, the Associated Press reported.

“We are deeply distressed by the information that was disclosed yesterday evening concerning one of our recently hired employees, Crimson Elizondo,” Uvalde school district officials said in a statement later that day, according to ABC News. “We sincerely apologize to the victim’s families and the greater Uvalde community for the pain that this revelation has caused.”

Lt. Hernandez did not immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did the school district spokesperson, ABC News reported.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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