Interim Uvalde CISD police chief focused on rebuilding department

“I know that I was capable of coming in, being able to make a difference here,” Gutierrez said.

UVALDE – The Uvalde CISD police department is under new leadership after Joshua Gutierrez was approved unanimously by the school board last month.

After more than a month on the job, Gutierrez met with KSAT 12 News for an exclusive sit-down interview.

“I am here for the community and I’m here for the students. I am here for our staff,” Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez has worked in school-based law enforcement for 22 years, he got his start at a young age.

“It just hit me when I first started working in the education field at East Central, that’s where I started my law enforcement career in school-based law enforcement. So after I got a taste of it and seeing the impact that I’m going to have on kids and students and choices that they made, it was an eye-opener,” he said.

He’s worked at several other districts as well including La Vernia ISD, North Side ISD, and Edgewood ISD.

As far as his training, Gutierrez has completed several active shooter courses, mental health courses, and de-escalation training to name a few.

“We are police officers that are working with these students day to day or have an understanding of what they’re encountering, that it’s just not an individual off the street,” Gutierrez said.

In his first few weeks as the interim police chief for Uvalde CISD, Gutierrez says he is focused on rebuilding.

“Set the standard of what a school-based law enforcement agency looks like or department looks like,” he said.

Gutierrez explains that includes tactical cross-training with other local law enforcement as well as student and community engagement.

However, before that, it starts with hiring qualified officers.

“We are currently interviewing individuals that have come through,” Gutierrez said. “I am being very detailed in the background investigations in where these individuals worked prior.”

Texas law requires all school-based officers to have active shooter training.

State law enforcement records show Gutierrez completed his last training a week after the Robb Elementary shooting.

“Any person who works within the school has to go through that training, and you’re updated annually,” Gutierrez said.

When the tragedy happened at Robb, Gutierrez says he felt called to come to Uvalde and help.

“I have the ability to come out here and help the community heal, help our community heal, and the abilities to reestablish a good foundation for our police department,” he said.

Gutierrez met some of the victims’ families at a district board meeting, he says the experience touched him and gave him a renewed sense of duty to the community.

“We are going to make a change, and we are going to get good people in place for our students,” he said.

Safety is at the forefront for UCISD families. Monday at 6 p.m., the district will present its end-of-the-year safety and security report as well as deliver information about the Texas School Safety Center’s Intruder Detection Audit.

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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.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.

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