The expansion of the Los Fresnos CISD Police department continues, as newly hired officers join the ranks and complete trainings to ensure student and campus safety for the 2022-23 school year is met.
The Los Fresnos CISD police officers cleared the hallways of an empty Los Cuates Middle School as they participated in the Customs and Border Protection Active Shooter Training Program (ASTP). The two-day, interactive training is part of ongoing efforts to enhance multi-agency response to a reported active shooter emergency on campus ahead of the first day of school on Monday, August 15th.
The LFCISD officers and CBP agents completed the ASTP, which is similar to SMART training. The group was educated on how to assess active threat situations, communicate efficiently, and worked in tandem to negotiate real-world scenarios in hallways and in classrooms.
“Offering our facilities for active shooter trainings is key because any time outside agencies train with Los Fresnos CISD PD, they will familiarize themselves with our officers and our campuses, and our officers are able to improve their skills and practice our protocols” said Jimmy McDonough, Deputy Superintendent for Operations.
Los Fresnos Police Department Expansion
District administration and Police Chief Joe Vasquez have devoted much attention to growing the LFCISD Police Department, successfully hiring nine new officers over the summer. In May, Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Gonzalo Salazar, made the recommendation following the active shooter tragedy in Uvalde that took 22 lives. The Board of Trustees approved the addition, which amounts to over $400,000 in recurring salary costs to the budget.
“The presence of a police officer on each of our fourteen campuses not only enhances the safety of our students and staff, but provides peace of mind to concerned parents. We are immediately implementing new strict security and safety measures this year,” said Superintendent Dr. Gonzalo Salazar.
The noticeable changes will start when students arrive on Monday, greeted by one Los Fresnos CISD police officer at each of the district’s fourteen campuses. They will be stationed at a desk in the hallway and will actively patrol the perimeter throughout the day. In addition, it is standard practice that all classroom doors remain locked through the day. Exterior doors have been assessed and alarms are being installed on strategically identified exterior doors. The district will continue to utilize surveillance cameras to oversee hallways, and the RAPTOR identification system to clear on-campus visitors.
Soon, a Knox Box that holds the set of master keys to each campus will be installed for law enforcement to access in the event of an active shooter emergency.
The Los Fresnos CISD actively participates in safety and security meetings, with audits executed every three years.
“We take our commitment to meeting safety protocols seriously. We have Memorandums of Understanding and constant communication with surrounding law enforcement agencies that will allow
us to keep lines of communication open and provide additional training opportunities and support to all staff,” said McDonough.
Law Enforcement Partnerships and Outreach Campaigns
Partnerships with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies have been a key component of the new plan of action. District administration has participated in meetings and presentations with outside agencies to plan for potential on-campus emergencies.
In addition, new outreach campaigns will seek student, parent, and staff participation to identify potential threats. Outreach posters with easy access to online bullying and threat forms will be available on all campuses.
“Parents entrust us not just to educate their children, but to protect them. We encourage parents and students to speak up and report on-campus threats so we may provide additional support and services as needed to anyone who may need assistance,” said McDonough.