UVALDE, Texas (KXAN) — Lieutenant Mike Hernandez will take over as interim police chief for the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District.
Superintendent Dr. Hal Harrell made the announcement Wednesday in a letter sent to parents and teachers, while also placing the district’s embattled police chief, Pete Arredondo, on administrative leave.
Hernandez is listed as a “Detective/Lieutenant” for Uvalde CISD on the district’s website. Hernandez ran for Uvalde County Sheriff in 2020 but lost the race. In a campaign video, he touted his more than 33 years of experience by growing in ranks from a patrolman, detective, lieutenant, captain and even interim chief for the Uvalde Police Department.
“It’s about loyalty, integrity, honesty, transparency and doing the right thing,” Hernandez said in a campaign post on social media.
Hernandez retired from the department in 2016, according to a post on the department’s Facebook page. Uvalde PD congratulated Hernandez while also praising him for being “quick to lend a hand, and impart his knowledge and wisdom to all who asked.”
Uvalde CISD said it will, “continue to seek qualified candidates to join our police department as we prepare for the new school year.”
Arredondo is at the center of national criticism as details come out about how he and his officers responded to the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary School. However, it’s still unclear the role Hernandez played in officers’ response the day of the shooting.
Arredondo testified in a private Texas House committee hearing Tuesday and didn’t answer any questions from reporters as he left the chamber. Steve McCraw, the Texas Department of Public Safety director, called his response to the shooting “an abject failure” during a public hearing in the Texas Senate chamber.
In a June 9 interview with the Texas Tribune, Arredondo defended his response, saying, “not a single responding officer ever hesitated, even for a moment, to put themselves at risk to save the children. We responded to the information that we had and had to adjust to whatever we faced.”