Why don't Las Cruces elementary schools have police officers on campus?


Michelle, A KFOX14 viewer, wanted to know why Las Cruces Public Schools have police officers at the district's middle school and high school campuses, but not at elementary schools.

The question seems especially timely after a Las Cruces man allegedly took to social media and threatened to open fire at Conlee Elementary School a couple of weeks ago.

Police locked down the school and quickly arrested 23-year-old Michael Estrada, who’s now undergoing a mental evaluation.

I took Michelle's concerns to Las Cruces Public Schools spokeswoman, Jo Galvan. In an email, she said school resource officers are only stationed at high schools and middle schools within the district. She said that with limited funding, uniformed officers are placed at the locations where they're needed most.

LCPS has to pay the Las Cruces Police Department to assign officers solely to schools, and Galvan told me that based on their population and level of criminal activity, middle schools and high schools get those officers.

But Galvan did say elementary schools do have the option of borrowing a school resource officer from another campus if safety is a concern.

She also said police officers responded quickly to the recent threat against Conlee Elementary, even though there's not a full-time officer on campus.

Concerned parents might consider reaching out to their child’s school principal or the Las Cruces School Board to see if their campus could borrow an officer from another school, or to possibly pay for expanding the police program to elementary campuses.

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