Bexar County reserve deputies become trained school resource officers for local campuses

New resource officers can be assigned to any campus, districts in Bexar County

SAN ANTONIO – School shootings nationwide have prompted a series of changes to campus safety.

Just six months ago, students who survived the Santa Fe High school shooting outside Houston told Gov. Greg Abbott they'd feel safer with extra officers on campus. However, there's not always funding for that.

The Bexar County Sheriff's Office finished training 27 reserve, or volunteer, deputies to be school resource officers Tuesday. The deputies can be assigned to schools across Bexar County.

"The training is awesome, especially for officers who haven't been in a school setting," said David Rios, a reserve deputy.

Rios just finished the 20-hour, two day school resource officer training, but he has a unique perspective. He's also a criminal justice teacher at Highlands High School.

"You want to get to know the kids, especially when the kids trust you. They open up to you and you get to know a lot of stuff," he said.

Rios said trust is the most crucial thing, and that was emphasized in the training. Technology was also a big part of it.

"They post everything. If there's a fight going on, anything going on ... it's all over social media," Rios said.

Social media can be an obstacle, but in many cases, it helps school officers.

"It's a great tool when the students come up to you and say, 'Sir, I have this,'" Rios said.

He's seen it happen firsthand.

"We just recently had, I want to say three months ago, that the kid was going to shoot up Highlands High School. Thank God we got him in front of the school and we ended up arresting him," Rios said.

Rios said if he and the school resource officer weren't already on campus, they would have had to wait for another agency.

The Sheriff's Office expects many of its newly trained deputies to go to charter schools or private schools since they typically don't have their own district police departments.

Any school administrators interested in having a resource officer on their campus can email the reserve deputy coordinator at score@bexar.org.

About the Author: