15 months before Uvalde massacre, Police Chief Arredondo raised security issues with school board

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(UVALDE, Texas) — Law enforcement was criticized for its response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas.

Fifteen months before the school shooting that claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, the embattled school district police chief mentioned during a city school board meeting some of the security issues that investigators have found played critical roles in the failures connected with the May 24 massacre.

Police Chief Pete Arredondo, targeted for much of the blame in the botched response to the shooting, told the board on March 3, 2021, about problems using police radios to communicate in school hallways.

He also said doors were left open so routinely that he and the Uvalde city police had a standing arrangement for dealing with it.

Uvalde:365 is a continuing ABC News series reported from Uvalde and focused on the Texas community and how it forges on in the shadow of tragedy.

“For example, open doors that they find throughout the night, I’ll handle with the respective campus. You know, you got some open doors please handle with your staff, anything that happens obviously,” Arredondo said.

In other remarks, Arredondo pointed out the need for more active shooter training. He said there was such a heavy presence of law enforcement in and around Uvalde that any serious incident would see a massive influx of cops, deputies and federal agents, though he had a real fear of the confusion that could cause.

In the wake of the mass shooting, Arredondo has offered only limited defense of his own actions and has been publicly silent since the Texas House’s special investigative committee laid much of the blame for poor police response at Arredondo’s feet.

It’s not clear whether Arredondo intends to mount a defense when the school board meets Wednesday evening to determine whether to fire him. He is currently suspended without pay.

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