Comal Co. Sheriff’s Office’s new program aims to protect elementary schools

New program to bring more law enforcement officers to schools

COMAL COUNTY – School safety, primarily safety for our youngest elementary children, is at the forefront as districts are heading back to school.

In an effort to better protect them, the Comal County Sheriff’s Office and Comal ISD are launching a new program.

“We wanted the kids that were going back to school to feel safe. And we wanted to reassure parents that their children would be safe there,” Mark Reynolds, Comal Co. sheriff said.

Cutting out insecurity and showing parents their children would be looked after in the event the worst should happen are two aims of the program.

That’s what Comal County Sheriff Mark Reynolds is working towards with the launch of the new initiative.

“We’re hoping to build the SROs back up with our reserve deputy program,” Reynolds said.

Right now, there are school resource officers on middle and high school campuses.

The reserve program is focused specifically on elementary schools.

“It takes us 30, 45 days from getting somebody through the testing and interview phase until we get them in a uniform with backgrounds and all that kind of stuff,” Reynolds said.

The program has been active for a month and it’s drawing highly qualified candidates like Carl Heintz and Jonathan Wyers.

“Army veteran, was sent to Operation Desert Storm back in 1991. Then I came back home and enjoyed my childhood dream of a career in the Illinois State Police,” Carl Heintz, a member of the program said.

“Houston Police Department at the age of 19 years old and spent my entire career there. And I retired with 32 years of service back,” Jonathan Wyers, a member of the program said.

Both Wyers and Heintz had a renewed sense of duty, following the Robb Elementary tragedy.

“I’m a father of two and soon to be a grandfather. And it, uh, folks shouldn’t be scared to let their kids go to school,” Wyers said.

Each reserve deputy has to pass a physical on the rower.

Since they’re already peace officers or honorably retired, the time to get them ready to be on campuses protecting kids is expedited.

“I’d like to be a part of combating that evil in our world and making a difference. Hopefully, it never comes to that,” Heintz said.

If you’d like to join Comal County’s reserve deputy school resource officer program, contact Lt. Mark Long at (830)620-3400 ext. 2007.

About the Authors

Leigh Waldman is an investigative reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.

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