Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD making the final touches to their very own police department.
The last time CBS 4 spoke with Chief of Police, Rolando Garcia of PSJA’s Police Department, they were waiting to be certified by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE).
Well, now they are, and they will be on patrol in two weeks.
In the past, PSJA ISD Superintendent, Dr. Jorge Arredondo said the school district used money to pay police officers from the cities.
“Now, those funds we decided to use the same budget to hire our own police,” said Arredondo. “But in addition to that, because we have our own officers, we had to supply some vehicles and some equipment.”
Garcia said they hired 15 School Resource Officers (SRO). Six of which will be at the high school campuses and nine will be designated to patrol the rest of the campuses within the district. However, Garcia said this is just a base number.
“We want to grow from there through grants, through other different funding sources that we can come up with,” said Garcia. “And we wanted to pick the best 15 possible to get that foundation as strong as possible and then we just grow from there.”
There are 43 campuses to patrol, but PSJA police won’t be alone as they’re working together with about 100 security guards.
“Our larger high schools have five safety officers and they do not carry a handgun, but they are also instrumental in mentoring and counseling,” said Arredondo. “And ensuring that they’re getting to class and to support the administration for any issues that may come up.”
“It’s kind of a balance of two different departments that can work together in a cohesive manner,” said Garcia. “And it just makes that campus safer and the students and staff better well-maintained.”
Garcia adds that the goal is to have a SRO at each campus.
The police department will be fully operating on February 4.