Mercedes school district lacking police force

By: Santiago Caicedo

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In small cities like Mercedes, public schools sometimes don't have their own police force.

"We actually have officers that are assigned to the school district,” said Mercedes police spokesperson Antonio Montelongo. “So, those officers are there the whole time at the schools."

That means city officers patrol school hallways instead of the streets.

RELATED: Police: Mercedes ISD security guard responsible for bomb threat at high school

According to the Mercedes Police Department, the school district currently has two police officers for nine schools, including John F. Kennedy Elementary, Mercedes Academic Academy, Mercedes Early College Academy, Mercedes High School, Ruben Hinojosa Elementary, Sgt. Manuel Chacon Middle School, Sgt. William G. Harrell Middle School, W.B. Travis Elementary and Zachary Taylor Elementary.

The district is also looking into possibly hiring a new security firm after a guard was arrested in May. Authorities say he made a bomb threat against the high school.

"That stuff we really - right now look into a lot is the social media cause that's where a lot of the threats are - have been coming in through,” Montelongo said.

If any threats are reported, Montelongo says officers will show up in minutes along with help from local constables, sheriff's deputies and police officers from nearby cities.

READ ALSO: Mercedes ISD superintendent placed on paid administrative leave following arrest  

Interim Superintendent Richard Rivera would not speak to Channel 5 News on camera to explain more about the district's security plan, but on the district's website, officials are considering creating their own police department or hiring new security guards.

The Mercedes ISD School Board will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday to decide on whether to hire a new security firm.


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