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Alamo Heights ISD looks to hire more security officers after Uvalde

Alamo Heights Independent School District is considering additional safety measures and increased school-security officers following a tragic incident in Uvalde.

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Following the Uvalde mass shooting, the Alamo Heights Independent School District is considering hiring more school security guards.

The Robb Elementary School shooting on May 24 that left 19 pupils and two teachers dead prompted numerous districts in San Antonio and elsewhere to look into measures to tighten security.

The Alamo Heights Police Department has a contract with the five-campus district of Alamo Heights to place one officer at the high school starting in January 2019. The district is hoping to add two, one stationed at Cambridge Elementary and another at the Junior School, according to Police Chief Rick Pruitt, who made the announcement during a city council meeting on Wednesday. According to Pruitt, the Cambridge campus police officer would frequently check in on Woodridge Elementary and the Howard Early Childhood Center.

As a result of the massacre at Santa Fe High School in 2018, which left 10 people dead, the district hired its first officer in January 2019, according to Frank Alfaro, assistant superintendent for administrative services. He said that at the time, there was discussion about placing an officer on each college in Alamo Heights, but officials chose to start out slowly.

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Alfaro said “it feels like the proper time” to hire more as the district approaches four years with an officer and observes a renewed push for more in the aftermath of the Uvalde disaster.

Since the shooting in Uvalde, “our community of parents has cranked up their calls,” Alfaro added.

Over at ExpressNews.com: Following the shooting at the Uvalde school, Hays CISD wants to see more law enforcement and cameras.

Pruitt stated during a meeting in June that the addition of two officers is a step toward the long-term goal of having one officer at each of the district’s five campuses. He stated on Wednesday that the police department would establish a school-security officer section if that were to ever materialize because those employees would require various levels of training.

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On Wednesday, City Council decided to add the two officers to the existing contract between AHISD and the school-security officer program. However, the modification depends on the city and district budgets’ approval in August, which will take these extra personnel into account.

Councilman Lawson Jessee described the concept of adding the cops as “mutually advantageous.” It is logical in a lot of ways.

Over at ExpressNews.com: San Antonio school police chiefs have revised their mass shooter strategies in the aftermath of the school shooting in Uvalde.

Pruitt announced that the police department would soon begin looking for prospective officers, but he cautioned that if final permissions from school and local officials weren’t received by the end of August, the efforts might be put on hold.

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According to Pruitt during the meeting on Wednesday, the school district covers 75% of the cost of the campus officer’s salary and benefits while the city covers the remaining 25%. The officer at the Cambridge campus would be subject to the same rules, but the Junior School officer’s salary would be entirely covered by the district. The cost of the uniforms and equipment would be covered by the district.

When school is not in session, the officers will continue to serve with the Alamo Heights Police Department.

Alfaro stated that until the school board meets to address such matters in August, he cannot confirm certain facts, such as how many officers the district is looking for, at which campuses those officers would be stationed, or how much the district will pay to bring on the officers.

Despite the district’s desire to begin this school year as soon as possible, Alfaro said he doesn’t believe everything will be ready by the first day, August 15.

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According to Alfaro, every school has “a variety of layers of security and safety,” including security lobbies that can withstand bullets, video surveillance, and regular emergency drills.

According to Alfaro, a school security officer “is one additional layer to that.”

megan.rodriguez@express-news.net

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