Valley school district police departments training for school safety

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EDINBURG, Texas — In June, Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 11 into law. It strengthens school security measures to protect against violence like the attack at Santa Fe High School. One local school district says it is being proactive when it comes to school safety.

Chief Ricardo Perez Jr., Edinburg CISD Police, “Our officers need to be trained on how to identify those potential threats.”

Over the next few days hundreds of officers working in schools along with other state and local authorities will be attending school based law enforcement training at Edinburg High School.

Chief Perez says, “On understanding on how to work with students from Pre-k to 12th grade. I mean it takes a special officer to work in a school district.”

The course which includes juvenile law, bullying, suicide prevention, and most importantly school safety; specifically active shooter training.

“Understanding the dynamics of it also mental health issues involving students and how to cope with them autism mental health drugs.” says the chief.

All peace officers attend the traditional academy but for those working in schools there is no specific training for school based law enforcement.

The Texas School Safety Center under Texas State University is collaborating with the district to provide that training.

Joe Muñoz, Manager – Texas School Safety Center, “It’s also looking at ways to avoid the criminal justice system and utilize better outlets to get the kid back on track in school.”

This year the Texas legislature sent a strong message to school districts that school safety would be a top priority in the upcoming school year.

Chief Perez says when it comes to active shooter training the district is taking a proactive response and learning how to identify warning signs and behavioral patterns before they become a threat.

“What triggered these individuals to come and shoot up a school. These officers are going to be trained on lessons learned from those incidents.”

The chief also wants to assure parents that students of the district are in a safe learning environment which creates a good educational environment.

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