AUSTIN (KXAN)– Law enforcement and elected officials are still fielding questions about the Uvalde school shooting.
At Tuesday’s Uvalde City Council meeting, many questions were about the Uvalde CISD police chief, Pete Arredondo.
“Is Pete Arredondo still the school’s chief of police?” asked one reporter.
“Why isn’t he here?” asked another.
“Again, I can’t answer that,” replied Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, Jr.
Kevin Lawrence, executive director of the Texas Municipal Police Association, said although some first responders may have made mistakes during this tragedy, many others may not ever come back to the job.
“We ask our police officers to see things that human beings just shouldn’t have to see, and then to go back to work afterward. It’s just — it’s almost a superhuman effort anymore,” he said. “Some of them may never return to work. It’s just, that kind of a situation is just so horrific.”
Lawrence and his team have been helping connect Uvalde officers with counseling and other mental health resources. Many, he said, have taken time off to grieve.
“You have to remember that so many of these officers had to go in and see the aftermath, you know, there, there has to be an opportunity for them to deal with that cope with that,” he said.
The Texas Police Chiefs Association issued a call for members to dispatch their officers to Uvalde to help fill in gaps in service.
“It can be something as entering calls for service because, as you can imagine, the Uvalde Police Department is pretty taxed, both from the actual event and then from the subsequent investigation going with that,” said president Jimmy Perdue.
He said about 350 officers have responded, with about 100 still in town on any given day. That includes Georgetown, Round Rock, San Marcos, and Bastrop police departments, as well as a dispatcher from Cedar Park who is still there.
Perdue said Bastrop ISD and the University of Texas at Austin police have also responded.
He said they’ve been providing security for public buildings, and for people.
“The mayor and the other some other people’s houses because of some of the threats that have come in either through social media or over the phone or stuff like that,” he said.
He said because of statewide staffing shortages, many departments–including his own– had to have officers at home work overtime in order to backfill positions while their colleagues responded in Uvalde.
Perdue is police chief of the North Richland Hills Police Department, in the Fort Worth-area. He’s had 11 of his staff respond to Uvalde over the last two weeks, with two members still there.
Perdue said they’ll start sending officers back to their home bases after the final Uvalde victim’s funeral, which he believes is set for June 16.
Pflugerville Police Department tells KXAN that one of their officer’s family members was killed in the mass shooting, and that the department will send other officers to support their colleague at the funeral.