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“Basically, any crime which directly affects a child,”
In the aftermath of an elementary school massacre in late May, Pearsall ISD police have increased security measures through staffing, technology and equipment.
Nick De Leon, who was officially named police chief on August 15 following the resignation of Chris Marquez, says he is encouraging students and staff to use a free application called, iWatchTexas.
“All campuses in our district are pre-programmed for use,” the police chief said in a phone interview Monday evening. “It deals with crime strictly related to school and is completely anonymous.”
The user-friendly application covers various topics such as dating violence, bullying, narcotics, suicide, gang-related activity and child abuse.
“It even covers domestic violence,” De Leon said. “Basically, any crime which directly affects a child.”
Once reported, Texas Department of Safety troopers review the allegation and determine if the tip is credible, according to the police chief. If the state agency finds merit in the concern, it will be sent to school district police.
“Depending on the crime reported we can receive the report within thirty minutes,” the police chief said.
De Leon and his officers are presenting the application to high school and junior high students during their lunch periods with hopes the school-aged children utilize the resource.
The district has also stepped up patrolling at the five campuses and facilities, installed permanent fencing and repositioned security staff.
According to De Leon, a school security guard now drives from campus-to-campus during school hours, making sure gates are locked and doors are secured.
The police chief applauds the school board’s recent decision to purchase five ballistic shields for the department. De Leon said although grant funding is available for the purchase of the police tactical equipment, the board saw it pertinent the protective gear be purchased immediately.
“The school board was very supportive and told me not to even worry about the grant funding and told me to order [the shields] now,” De Leon said.
In July, the board approved the funding for a fifth officer in an effort to help staff and secure campuses.
De Leon has served with the Pearsall ISD department for three years, before joining the force he worked with Pearsall police for six years and the La Salle County Sheriff’s Office for a year.