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West Texas law enforcement agencies increase presence on school campuses

After a mass shooting at a Uvalde elementary school Tuesday, law enforcement agencies are working with school districts to increase security measures on campuses.
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Police lights at night

TEXAS, USA — Law enforcement agencies across the state are increasing their presence on school campuses after a mass shooting at a Uvalde elementary school claimed the lives of 19 children and two adults Tuesday.

Tuesday afternoon, the Abilene Police Department issued a statement saying it will be increasing its presence at both Abilene and Abilene Wylie ISDs through the end of the school year.

A release from the department said it is working with both Abilene and Wylie ISDs to provide more visibility of officers and school staff from Wednesday, May 25 through the end of the school year.

The Merkel Police Department said it has spent the last several years building a relationship with the Merkel Independent School District to ensure campuses are staffed with well-trained guardians, school marshals and an MPD school-based law enforcement officer (SRO). For the remainder of the school year, MPD said it will also ensure additional patrol around all the campuses along with the current measures that already exist to protect children. During the day, the department will have officers going from campus to campus to help in keeping all campuses safe.

There are currently no known threats in Merkel ISD, the department said.

The Early Police Department said Tuesday it would like to help ease the minds of parents in the Early ISD area. Early Police will have officers at each campus in the mornings and as the day ends. During the day, there will be officers going from campus to campus.

There are currently no known threats in the Early ISD area. 

In Tom Green County, Sheriff Nick Hanna said, "I and our deputies have been on campuses in the County this morning and we are working to maintain a heavy presence in and around our schools throughout the school year and into next. We have been and will continue to reach out to our schools in the county."

San Angelo ISD Superintendent Carl Dethloff issued the following statement to parents:

"Dear SAISD Families, Students and Staff,

We are shaken to the core after hearing the devastating news from Uvalde CISD. Our schools should be places of learning, hope, and celebration - a safe spot to grow success in the future. We mourn the lives lost in Uvalde, and are deeply saddened by the fear it creates for school communities. 

The recent news is alarming, senseless, and causes uncertainty in our community. It is imperative that our district and I do everything possible to create the conditions where parents and students feel safe and comfortable in our schools. My two daughters attended schools in San Angelo ISD and graduated from our school system. As a parent, I understand the urgency to keep our schools safe, protect our children, and work diligently to prevent similar tragedies from impacting San Angelo and our schools.   

San Angelo is known for its robust partnerships and our ability to work together for the greater good of our community. As I traveled to campuses this morning and witnessed first-hand the increased police presence at our schools, I want to commend the San Angelo Police Department, ASU Police Department, Tom Green County Sheriff’s Department and other law enforcement personnel who  immediately responded to ensure an increased law enforcement presence at each of our schools. Chief Carter and his team quickly deployed police officers, detectives in unmarked vehicles, traffic officers on motorcycles, and off-duty SAPD officers in marked patrol vehicles to each of our elementary schools.   

Our leadership team is reviewing our security protocols and determining any additional layers of security that we can implement moving forward.   

It continues to be an honor and a privilege to help our community and school system push forward in a supportive environment."

The San Angelo Police Department issued a statement Wednesday afternoon saying the department has been in constant communication with the SAISD since Tuesday to provide an additional layer of security on all campuses.

Both the SAPD and SAISD highly encourage anyone with information regarding possible threats to schools and students to contact the police department directly with their concerns, so they can be addressed accordingly.

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