The Uvalde school board voted to hire Josh Gutierrez as the district’s interim police chief, nearly six months after the shooting at Robb Elementary School that left 19 children and two teachers dead.
Gutierrez has worked with the new interim superintendent Gary Patterson for nearly two decades in two Texas school districts.
“My eyes are wide open to the scrutiny of our district police department and I am fully aware, and our board is fully aware, of how careful we have to be to make sure we are taking the right steps,” Patterson said at the meeting of the meeting on Wednesday night. “I wouldn’t recommend Josh for this job if I didn’t believe in Josh.”
Gutierrez has experience as a law enforcement officer and as an educator, Patterson said, noting that he chaired a school safety committee and served as an emergency management coordinator in other school districts.
The Uvalde school board fired former district police chief Peter Arredondo, whom state police identified as the incident commander during the shooting, in August after months of criticism of law enforcement’s response.
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On October 6, the school district fired a recently hired school police officer, Crimson Elizondo, after it was revealed that she was being investigated by the Texas Department of Public Safety for her actions during the shooting.
The next day, October 7, the entire school district’s police force was suspended while the board reassessed how it was hiring officers.
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The Uvalde school board also approved plans for a new $50 million, 39-classroom building to replace Robb Elementary School, which will be demolished.