Uvalde, TX – The fired Uvalde School District police chief accused of botching the law enforcement response to the Robb Elementary School massacre will no longer have a dishonorable discharge flag on his law enforcement record, a state hearings board has determined.
As a result, now-former Uvalde Consolidated Independent Schools District Police Department (UCISDPD) Chief Pete Arredondo will be eligible for hire in the event he tries to get a job at a different law enforcement agency, ABC News reported.
According to a scathing 77-page report released by a Texas House of Representatives investigative committee in July of 2022, 376 law enforcement officers responded to the school as the 18-year-old gunman carried out his attack inside a fourth-grade classroom on May 24, 2022, the Associated Press reported.
It took police 77 minutes to storm the classroom and fatally shoot the gunman.
Nineteen children and two teachers were murdered in the massacre.
At least 17 other victims were wounded.
Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steven McCraw has placed blame for the delayed law enforcement response squarely on Chief Arredondo, who the director alleged was the “on-scene commander” during the school shooting.
The chief said he believed he was in the role of a front-line responder and that someone else was commanding the larger police response to the situation.
Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District (UCISD) Superintendent Hal Harrell announced on June 22, 2022, that he placed Chief Arredondo on administrative leave, KABC reported.
Chief Arredondo was bumped to unpaid leave the following month.
The Uvalde school board voted unanimously to fire the embattled police chief altogether in August of 2022.
His firing triggered a mandatory process requiring the UCISDPD to send a termination report to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, ABC News reported.
The firing agency is also required to classify the firing as honorable, general, or dishonorable.
Fired officers have the right to appeal to the State Office of Administrative Hearing to have the classification upgraded, ABC News reported.
Arredondo filed his appeal in September of 2022.
A default judgement upgrading his classification was issued in late January, but because those documents are confidential, it is unknown what classification he received before and after the appeal process, ABC News reported.
What is known is that because of the upgraded classification, he does not have a dishonorable flag on his law enforcement record.
Furthermore, the default judgement in Arredondo’s favor means the UCISDPD didn’t show up to argue against the fired police chief’s appeal, ABC News reported.
The school district did not respond to repeated requests for comment about why Arredondo won the appeal by default, according to the news outlet.