An Uvalde law enforcement veteran with deep roots in the community has temporarily replaced the school district’s police chief.
Lieutenant Mike Hernandez, a retired city police officer, was named in a statement by Uvalde school superintendent Hal Harrell as a replacement for District Police Chief Pete Arredondo, who was placed on administrative leave while following last month’s fatal school shooting. The investigation was completed. The news comes as the Texas community is grappling with the aftermath of the high-profile massacre.
Arredondo, the police chief of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, has faced criticism for his reaction to the shooting at Rob’s Elementary School, in which 19 children and two teachers were killed. Several investigations are currently being conducted by local law enforcement dealing with the shooting.
In 2020 Miguel “Mike” Hernandez ran for Uvalde County Sheriff as a Democrat, losing by 60 votes to his Republican rival, according to Uvalde news-leader.
In the campaign video, Hernandez traces his roots to the small town of about 15,000, describing how he was born and raised in Uvalde, where his mother worked at a local pharmacy. In one video, Hernandez appeared in Sabinal, a small town about 22 miles east of Uvalde, where, he said, “everybody knows everybody.”
“I’ve worked hard to earn over 33 years of law enforcement experience and work through the ranks to patrol, detective, lieutenant, captain, and as interim chief of the Uvalde Police Department,” he said in a video. has done.” “I want to create a department that is beneficial to everyone.”
Bob Price, a retired local law enforcement veteran, described Hernandez in a campaign video as being able to handle big budgets, make good personnel decisions, and work well with the public.
In other videos, Hernandez described himself as a “public servant, not a cop” who still saw people as human beings, even if he had to take them to jail.
Hernandez was considered by the county commission in December 2020 to serve the rest of the term of the justice of the peace, who resigned, according to News leader. The newspaper reported that Hernandez withdrew his name from consideration.
“I’m not yet through with serving the public as a peace officer,” Hernandez said.no facebook post those days. “I still have love for the job, for the people, and for my current position.”
Hernandez’s career trajectory is not entirely clear from online sources. but A Facebook post from 2016 The Uvalde Police Department congratulated then Lieutenant Hernández on his retirement from the department. Hernandez later took a job as a police officer in the school district’s police force.
A Texas legislative panel has opened an investigation into law enforcement’s response to the fatal shooting. State Representative Dustin Burroughs, who is leading the investigation, said last week that Uvalde police were reluctant to participate.
Harrell said in his statement on Wednesday that he was “still without details of the investigations being carried out by the various agencies.” He said he was placing Arredondo on leave “because there remains a lack of clarity and an unknown time when I will receive the results of the investigation.”
Burroughs told KABB Fox 29 of San Antonio on Friday that Arredondo did not agree to testify. However, the station reported that four other community officials agreed to testify, including Hernandez.
newsweek Reached out to the district for additional comment.