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EPPD: Department too understaffed to fulfill governor's school safety proposal

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott released a 43-page report Wednesday that outlines strategies for preventing school shootings and making campuses safer.

The governor made dozens of recommendations, which included increasing the presence of law enforcement officers at schools. The governor said police could make the schools a part of their daily patrol routine and schools could have a room in which the officers could file their reports.

Having more police officers in schools is not possible in El Paso, however, according to a statement from the El Paso Police Department.

“The police department does believe that having more police in schools is a good idea. At current staffing levels it is just not possible to place officers on school campuses,” said Sgt. Robert Gomez in a statement.

“The positive is that Socorro and El Paso School districts do have police departments of their own,” said Gomez.

The Ysleta Independent School District currently hires El Paso Police Department officers for its seven high schools and one early-college high school, said Chris Lechuga, spokesman for YISD.

Another recommendation from the governor was to make changes in existing laws that would make it easier to arm school personnel, along with reducing the amount of training hours for volunteers to take part in the program.

But the recommendation is facing backlash by school districts, including YISD.

“We really won't entertain arming our teachers. I don't know that that's the answer. I don't know that parents will feel comfortable (if) faculty and staff might have firearms," said Xavier de la Torre, YISD superintendent.

To view a complete list of the governor’s proposals, you can click here.


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