‘Significant leadership failure’: Uvalde Police Department’s rebranding aims to reshape agency

New initiative comes days after new chief Homer Delgado promised changes to come for the department as a whole

(AP Photo/Eric Gay) (Eric Gay, Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

UVALDE, Texas – A new initiative being rolled out by the new chief of the Uvalde Police Department calls for an agency rebranding following a “massive leadership failure” following the Robb Elementary shooting.

A draft of what’s being called “The Guardian Initiative: Uvalde Police Department Rebranding” was shared with KSAT Investigates by a source familiar with the program.

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The introduction of the initiative states the program intends to rebuild trust, restore credibility, and revitalize community relations.

“By effectively rebranding, police departments can leverage the opportunity to address past shortcomings, implement positive changes, and ultimately regain public confidence,” the rebranding states.

Five goals are laid out in “The Guardian Initiative”:

  1. Restoring Trust and Credibility
  2. Improving Community Relations
  3. Enhancing Officer Morale and Performance
  4. Implementing Structural Changes
  5. Leveraging Technology and Innovation

“In conclusion, rebranding a police department following a massive leadership failure offers a pathway to redemption and renewal,” the document states.

“The Guardian Initiative” includes a 10-step action plan that begins with acknowledging past failures through a department-wide meeting and establishing a task force to determine the root cause of past failures.

The language in the rebranding document is significantly harsher than a press release shared by the City of Uvalde’s press office Monday morning.

The press release said that the Uvalde City Council and the City Manager directed UPD Chief Homer Delgado to create “a comprehensive plan to overhaul the policies, practices, and procedures of the Uvalde Police Department (UPD) to enhance community trust and safety while modernizing the city’s police force.”

However, nowhere in the release is the word “failure” used.

The release explains to achieve the mission of the “Guardian Initiative” where Delgado will hold “one-on-one interviews with every single UPD officer – to ensure transparency and accountability at the outset of this initiative.”

“As officers, we are accountable to the people who depend on us, and we must demonstrate the highest levels of professionalism and responsiveness to carry out the core mission of every single officer – protecting the safety of the Uvalde community. The Guardian Initiative is key to the transformation of our department, and will require hard work, discipline, extensive training, and community engagement to enhance the department’s capabilities while ensuring integrity and transparency in our operations. We look forward to working hand-in-hand with the entire Uvalde community as UPD undergoes these critical changes to keep Uvalde Safe.”

UPD Chief Homer Delgado

KSAT 12 News asked UPD for more information on the announcement of the initiative and was told that at this time no additional information can be shared.

However, “we are fully committed to engaging with all stakeholders, including the United States Department of Justice, to identify the most effective strategies for implementing the Guardian Initiative.”

The announcement of this new initiative comes just days after the Uvalde Leader-News reported Delgado was “planning sweeping changes to the department’s structure and operations and is in the process of reviewing every element, including policies, procedures and personnel.”

Delgado’s comments to the Uvalde Leader-News stopped short of saying if any officers would be terminated.

Read more reporting on the KSAT Investigates page.

About the Authors

Leigh Waldman is an investigative reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined KSAT Investigates in September 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat and on the Six O'Clock News. Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.

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