UVALDE, Texas – The Uvalde CISD school board met Wednesday evening to vote on hiring a new interim police chief.
The board unanimously voted to hire Josh Gutierrez as the new interim police chief for the district. The decision comes nearly three months after district police chief Pete Arredondo was fired following his actions on the day of the Robb Elementary shooting on May 24.
The only board member who abstained from voting is JJ Suarez.
Uvalde CISD interim Superintendent Gary Patterson introduced Gutierrez as someone who he’s known for years and has worked with at two other school districts.
“One of the things that is very impressive about Josh is he decided, after a few years in law enforcement -- he decided to go back to school. He received a teacher certification and a principal certification,” Patterson said.
Onto 4. G approval of interim police chief. Patterson is introducing Josh Gutierrez. Patterson has known him for years and worked with him in two other districts. Gutierrez is certified in ALICE, TCOLE, principal certification, special education, etc.— Leigh Waldman (@LeighWaldman) November 17, 2022
Patterson told the board he recommended Gutierrez due to his background in law enforcement and education.
Gutierrez has worked with Patterson at East Central ISD and has worked as head of district safety and security previously at La Vernia ISD.
Gutierrez is meeting with some families of the 21 now. Laura Garza asked if he is short term or long term. He said he’s not sure. She says it’s reassuring to have someone long term. He says his passion is school district safety pic.twitter.com/uIL9XbTpXy— Leigh Waldman (@LeighWaldman) November 17, 2022
The interim superintendent said the Texas Police Chiefs Association has given them a blueprint for building a police force from the ground up after the entire department was suspended last month.
“My eyes are wide open to the scrutiny of our district police department, and I’m fully aware and our board is fully aware of how careful we must be to make sure we’re taking the right steps,” Patterson said.
He says his eyes are wide open to the scrutiny that they’re under and he wouldn’t recommend Gutierrez if he didn’t think he’d be fit. Board has voted to approve Gutierrez as interim police chief unanimously with JJ Suarez abstaining from the vote— Leigh Waldman (@LeighWaldman) November 17, 2022
Patterson said he’d personally oversee the hiring of each officer on the force to ensure they’re qualified and have no prior blemishes on their record, like we saw with Crimson Elizondo.
Elizondo is a former Texas DPS trooper who was hired for the district police force after being investigated by DPS for her actions at Robb Elementary on May 24.
Patterson said building an effective police force starts with hiring a good chief.
“You build it carefully. You know, we look for a chief that can lead the department, that’s got school resources and school knowledge, that is of the personality that they can have discourse with people,” Patterson said.
The interim superintendent said he’ll vet the officers currently on the force, who are on administrative duty, to see if they’re fit to come back.
Patterson started his first board meeting by addressing the community and vowing to do more for the 21 families and the rest of the district.
“I can’t begin to understand what the families and the community have gone through but I want you to know I’m trying. I’m trying to understand,” Patterson said.
Aside from business with the chief, the board decided on a site and designs for a new elementary school in Uvalde.
Tim Miller, executive director of the Uvalde CISD Moving Forward Foundation, issued the following statement:
“The Uvalde CISD Moving Forward Foundation is honored to begin the next phase of our work to build a new elementary school in the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District. With this evening’s approval of the site and conceptual design by the UCISD school board, we now move to the schematic design phase of the project.”
View Uvalde CISD Moving Forward Foundation’s presentation below