Uvalde CISD interim superintendent says the district never engaged with JPPI Investigations

Since the shooting, several investigations and reviews have been completed.

UVALDE – On Monday night, Uvalde CISD board members and the public heard an update on the seemingly discontinued independent investigation into the district’s police department.

“The fact that you’ve made your decision to no longer move forward with that investigation is very disheartening, disappointing, and disrespectful,” Diana Olvedo Karau said when speaking to the board.

“You guys had an investigation. Now you’re sweeping it under the rug,” Daniel Myers added.

The outrage was over the now-canceled JPPI Investigations review.

However, Uvalde CISD interim Superintendent Gary Patterson says an investigation was never authorized.

“The board never acted or directed Dr. (Hal) Harrell to engage with JPPI. I’ve been over all of the board agendas and minutes and talked to Dr. Harrell again,” Patterson said.

No agreement was ever made.

Though, a UCISD press release dated Sept. 28 stated otherwise:

“Additionally, the district has engaged with JPPI Investigations to conduct an independent review of the Uvalde CISD Police Department’s actions on May 24, 2022. At this time, we do not have an expected completion date for the reviews.”

“That is confusing, and I will agree that that is confusing,” Patterson said.

To clarify, Patterson said they never signed anything or officially engaged with JPPI Investigations.

Instead, the district is relying on four other reviews and investigations:

1. Texas House of Representatives: Investigative Committee on the Robb Elementary Shooting

2. The systematic review and investigation of the UCISD Police Department conducted by James McGlaughlin with the Texas Police Chiefs Association

3. Texas School Safety Center: Uvalde CISD District Safety and Security Audit Report

4. The Department of Justice’s ongoing investigative review will be completed at a date to be determined.

The district has received a systematic review of the UCISD Police Department conducted by James McGlaughlin of the Texas Police Chiefs Association. The administration and Board of Trustees are currently reviewing this document. In addition, the district is actively participating and cooperating with the DOJ investigation and review.

Uvalde CISD statement on investigations and reviews; February 10, 2023

“To engage JPPI would have been to engage two firms that would have overlapped without even taking into consideration what JPPI told Dr. Harrell, which is there’s nothing more we can do for you,” Patterson said.

He says it’ll be up to the district’s lawyers on whether they release the results of the other investigations and reviews because of ongoing litigation.

The board voted unanimously to approve a Memorandum of Understanding between the district police and the City of Uvalde police. It outlines communication and coordination efforts. You can read the MOU in the district’s agenda on pages 57 - 60.

The board also voted unanimously to end its school year for students before May 24.

Classes will end on May 22, just before Uvalde marks one year since the shooting at Robb Elementary, due to safety concerns surrounding the anniversary.

According to the agenda, “The Texas Education Agency has been working with the district to ensure there will be no financial consequences or make up for those days. Staff will return on May 26th for the end of year workday and Graduation.”

The district heard a presentation from SafeEVAC Inc. on its threat identification and evacuation technology.

“The technology consists of threat identification and first responder notification, patent-pending signage, which provides instant notification to occupants within the threat area to shelter-in-place and instantly directs those who can safely evacuate to a safe exit,” according to the district’s agenda.

Patterson urged the board to wait on making a decision until they can see how this technology has been implemented in other places first.

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.

Recommended Videos