New agreement providing school security enhancements at Harlingen CISD
A new agreement is putting more armed security on Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District campuses.
Parent Mark Lopez says he feels comfortable dropping off his daughter at school.
"They're pretty good at that school,” Lopez said. “It's always locked up and gated. They have cameras. You have to go through two cameras before you get to get inside the school. They have the constable there every day that I go to pick her up and drop her off. He's there."
Harlingen CISD doesn't have its own police force. The district works with the city and has security guards, but this year, it increased the armed presence at campuses through a new agreement with surrounding agencies, like nearby Cameron County Constable's offices.
"While the officers are on their off-duty time and they get to come out to work the schools in full uniform, along with their patrol unit, to provide that service for the school district," said Cameron County Precinct 5 Constable Eddie Solis.
The school district also partnered with the Cameron County Sheriff's Office and police departments in Primera and Combes.
"The whole intention of this is to enhance the law enforcement presence within our campuses,” said Danny Castillo, the director of emergency management and school safety at Harlingen CISD. “This is just one of the strategies that we've incorporated to try to enhance safety across our district."
The district also added a security camera monitoring center and a daily check of all doors.
Solis says the added law enforcement presence at schools creates peace of mind not just for parents, but also students.
"We get a lot of feedback from the kids, just the kids alone they see us and they love seeing us in the campus," Solis said.
A Harlingen CISD spokesperson says on any given day, around 58 to 66 law enforcement and security officers are present in their district.
Before the start of the school year, the city approved the district to create its own police force. The agreement proposed a two-year window to get that started.