Uvalde School Police Chief's Next Move Spurs Anger

Pete Arredondo's swearing-in to City Council has been delayed, however, amid children's funerals
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 31, 2022 10:35 AM CDT
Uvalde School Police Chief Due to Take On New Role
A campaign sign for Pete Arredondo, the chief of police for the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, is seen in Uvalde, Texas, on Monday.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The school police chief accused of holding back officers from a classroom in Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, as a gunman murdered children inside will apparently take his place on the City Council, despite plenty of anger in his hometown. Pedro "Pete" Arredondo, the chief of police for the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, was elected to one of five council seats on May 7 with 126 votes, "more than two-thirds of the total in the city of more than 15,000," NBC News reports. "There is nothing in the city charter, election code, or Texas Constitution that prohibits him from taking the oath of office," Mayor Don McLaughlin said Monday, adding there was no known investigation of the police chief.

Arredondo's swearing-in ceremony, initially scheduled for Tuesday, will be delayed, however. "Our focus on Tuesday is on our families who lost loved ones," McLaughlin said in a Monday statement, per USA Today. "We begin burying our children tomorrow." Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw has said Arredondo made the "wrong decision" to direct more than a dozen officers to wait in a school hallway for more than an hour while the gunman was barricaded in a classroom where 19 children and two teachers were ultimately killed. That order, in defiance of established active-shooter protocols, has prompted plenty of anger in Arredondo's hometown, the AP reports.

"He dropped the ball maybe because he did not have enough experience. Who knows? People are very angry," a woman who has known Arredondo since he was a child tells the AP. Arredondo, who has spent almost 30 years in law enforcement, including 16 with the Uvalde Police Department, hasn't given a public statement since speaking at two short news conferences on the day of the shooting. Earlier this month, he told the Uvalde Leader-News that he was "ready to hit the ground running" as a member of the City Council. "I have plenty of ideas, and I definitely have plenty of drive," he said, adding his focus would be on "smart spending" and "keeping our streets clean." (More Uvalde mass shooting stories.)

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