The Uvalde school board voted to hire Josh Gutierrez as the district’s interim police chief, nearly six months after the Robb Elementary School shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead.
Gutierrez has worked with new interim Superintendent Gary Patterson for nearly two decades across two Texas school districts.
“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 at the board meeting on Wednesday evening. “I would not recommend Josh for this job if I didn’t believe in Josh.”
Guttierez has experience both as a law enforcement officer and educator, Patterson said, noting that he has chaired a school safety committee and served as emergency management coordinator in other school districts.
The Uvalde school board fired former district police chief Peter Arredondo, who state law enforcement has identified as the incident commander during the shooting, in August after months of criticism of the law enforcement response.
On Oct. 6, the school district fired a recently hired school police officer, Crimson Elizondo, after it was revealed that she was under investigation by the Texas Department of Public Safety for her actions during the shooting.
The next day on Oct. 7, the entire school district’s police force was suspended as the board reassessed how it was hiring officers.
The Uvalde school board also approved plans for a new $50 million 39-classroom building to replace Robb Elementary School, which will be demolished.