On Thursday, the Bexar County Sheriff's Office unveiled a new plan to address violence in schools. It's a pilot program Sheriff Javier Salazar calls a win-win for the sheriff's office and schools.
The plan calls for reserve deputies to meet their patrol time requirement by serving in two Bexar County school districts.
Sheriff Salazar says that the BCSO School Resource Reserve Deputy Program has a simple goal: work to address school safety.
“In any active shooter situation or school emergency situation, you're fighting against two things: You're fighting against that suspect, but you're also fighting against time,” Sheriff Salazar explained. “So, if I’ve got a uniformed deputy in the building. we're that much ahead of the game.”
His solution is using reserve deputies to provide a law enforcement presence inside schools. Right now, the pilot program will work with Southwest and East Central ISDs.
“Any time we have an optional additional resource to enhance and harden those campuses, it's always welcome,” Southwest ISD Chief Richard Palomo said.
Sheriff Salazar says that the deputies won't be in classrooms until they've completed resource officer-specific training.
Before going into schools, they'll learn about mental health and dealing with kids in crisis.
Right now, it's up to the districts to determine how these deputies will be used. For law enforcement officials, it's a step in the right direction.
“We all know that when you have additional police presence, that has a tendency to deter crime,” East Central ISD Chief George Dranowsky said.
Sheriff Salazar says that these deputies will begin working in schools once that resource officer training is complete.