The number of state Department of Public Safety troopers assigned to patrol Uvalde schools has decreased to 24 this year, district spokesperson Anne Marie Espinoza confirmed Aug. 15.
Troopers are expected to help support the district’s overall security and assist the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Department day to day. There is a UCISD officer assigned to every district campus except Batesville School, but that campus has a DPS officer on site like the others, said district police chief Josh Gutierrez on Aug. 18.
“This ensures there is a regular presence on campus and any issues or concerns can be addressed in a timely manner,” Gutierrez said.
UCISD officers will be responsible for addressing individual incidents and filing reports, and DPS troopers will patrol campuses, monitor foot traffic coming in and out of schools and provide additional security during events, Espinoza said. The two groups will work together when it comes to planning campus-specific safety strategies.
This is the second consecutive year the district has had an agreement with DPS. Last year, following the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary, DPS was called in to help provide additional security at schools and assist the district’s officers. The district knew it would extend its agreement with DPS for a second year and expected there to be less troopers, Espinoza said. She said she didn’t know when that decision was made.
During the Aug 28, UCISD board meeting, interim superintendent Gary Patterson told community members the agreement will likely be reviewed again at the end of this school year. He said DPS doesn’t want to leave the district entirely in the near future, and that it’s likely the number of troopers will continue to reduce over the next few years.