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Uvalde School Board Declines to Punish Police Chief for Failure. Given Seat on City Council


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In a shooting that took the lives of 2 teachers and 19 children, the mass shooting in Uvalde was a horrendous tragedy. What made it all the more painful for parents of the victims were the fact that they were prevented from rushing to the aid of their children while law enforcement stood around and refused to take action. Even as shots rang out, no action was taken by much of law enforcement on the scene.

There has been outrage, there has been demands for answers as to why this massive failure happened. In a recent Uvalde school board meeting, it seemed that at least some accountability would take place. According to Fox News, the results of that meeting did not go as many would have expected.

At the first meeting of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District (UCISD) board since the deadly mass shooting, members took no action against school police chief Pete Arredondo.

The meeting – which opened with prayer – was called in response to the May 24 attack by a lone gunman at Robb Elementary school that left 19 students and two teachers dead.

The baffling thing is that the school board had the ability to terminate the police chief that from the perspective of many in the law enforcement community, failed miserably.

Although the agenda allowed the board to terminate Arredondo, in a part of a meeting that was behind closed doors, they declined to do so, according to The Texas Tribune.

During the school board meeting, it was heartbreaking to witness the effects that this tragedy has had on the families and the community. What is confusing to many is why the school board has been so slow to investigate and take action for the failings that happened on that day. I mean, according to statements, the school board has no updates or anything further to report. Really?

During the first part of the meeting, Superintendent Dr. Hal Harrell said that his heart goes out to the families of the victims and called the slain teachers “heroes.”

Harrell said that while he is eager for investigations to come to completion, there was no additional information to provide on the matter.

It seems that one action the school board could and should have taken was hold police chief Pete Arredondo accountable for his action, or lack of action. It’s clear from the moment the events unfolded that Arredondo was woefully unprepared and incapable to handling the situation he was hired to perform.

We’re not asking for criminal charges, after all a full investigation needs to be done but it’s clear to everyone that he should have lost his job. Apparently, that truth is clear to the community, state law enforcement investigators and the parents of children that will never come home.

Amazingly, the respect for Arredondo went down even more by his refusal to attend the school board meeting in which he was a major topic of discussion.

Arredondo did not attend the meeting and the Tribune has reported that he is a “man in hiding” – even from state police investigating the shooting.

I’m sorry but this seems incredibly selfish to me. In the wake of a tragedy that he had a hand in making far worse, he lacks the intestinal fortitude to stand up in front of the people he failed and account for his actions. He’s even evading state authorities who are trying to get to the bottom of what happened.

The 50-year-old has come under fire – facing calls for his termination – over his slow response on that day.

The police chief was completely out of it that day. He didn’t even bother to bring a radio to the scene. On top of that, he didn’t even ask someone to give him one.

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As a result, it seems he was completely oblivious to what was actually happening. He even misclassified what was happening as a hostage situation. According to reports, he stayed in this state of ignorance for over an hour.

The 18-year-old gunman, Salvador Ramos, spent roughly 80 minutes inside the school. More than an hour passed from when the first officers followed him into the building and when he was killed by law enforcement, according to an official timeline.

Steven McCraw, the head of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said Arredondo believed the active shooting had turned into a hostage situation, and that he made the “wrong decision” to not order officers to breach the classroom.

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On Friday, Sen. Roland Gutierrez told The Associated Press that a Texas Department of Public Safety official told him Arredondo was not carrying a radio that day and that he was never informed that children were calling 911 from inside the school.

What’s worse is that this man has not only kept his job, he’s even been allowed to retain his position on the City Council which he was recently sworn in for.

It seems the reward for evading questioning of authorities and refusing to attend a meeting full of grieving parents is to move on with life as usual. The desire is that at some point, officials in Uvalde will make this man take responsibility for the hand he played in how everything occurred. For now, this tweet sums up what many families in Uvalde are feeling.



 

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