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LCPS signs contracts for law enforcement at schools


The Las Cruces Public Schools will pay the town of Mesilla $170,000 in the next school year for the assignment of two armed Mesilla marshals as full-time security personnel, known as “school resource officers,” for three school sites in Mesilla.

The contract, approved by school board members at their June 18 meeting, provides for two two marshals who would remain under the supervision of the Mesilla Marshal’s Department, the local law enforcement agency serving the town adjacent to Las Cruces. The officers will be covered under the town’s liability insurance.

One officer apiece would be assigned to Zia Middle School and Rio Grande Preparatory Institute, and the two would share time covering Mesilla Elementary School, according to the contract, which will be in effect from July 15 through May 30 of next year.

Among the SRO duties outlined in the contract include serving as “a visible, active law enforcement figure on campus” and role model, offering a resource for law enforcement education, and making presentations before parent groups or other organizations for designated topics such as drug and alcohol abuse.

As with school district employees, SROs would be prohibited from providing transportation to students, except in circumstances where they are victims of a crime or subjects of arrest, or if they have been suspended or sent home due to disciplinary action, the student is potentially deemed a threat and a ride from the student’s family is unavailable.

On disciplinary matters, the contract states that the district is primarily responsible for students and that “the SRO shall not become involved in routine school disciplinary matters such as tardiness, loitering, use of profanity, dress code violations, and disruptive or disrespectful behaviors.” In the event a disruption might “place students, faculty, and staff at risk of harm,” the SRO may get involved, the contract states, but arrests, citations or court referrals would only follow as a last resort. The SRO would be mandated to report crimes originating on campus and to share information with the school’s administration “in regard to persons and conditions that pertain to campus safety concerns.”

The contract terms make clear the officers will wear their authorized service weapons while on duty at the schools.

The board also approved a $409,500 agreement with the city of Las Cruces for 10 officers and one SRO supervisor to cover each high school and middle school in the city, plus $10,000 for training and office supplies and equipment. The agreement took effect immediately and will be active through June 2, 2025.

The officers will be employed and supervised by the Las Cruces Police Department. The description of their duties is similar to that of the Mesilla agreement, as well as the provision for officers to carry their department-issued weapons.

Deputy Superintendent Gabe Jacquez said the district and LCPD had worked to strengthen lines of communication between officers and school administrators, who will collaborate on safety plans at school sites.

Board member Patrick Nolan asked whether Mesilla SROs would be able to contact Project LIGHT, a mental health response team based in Las Cruces, for services there and was told by staff that an agreement was in place that the team would respond, under an agreement with Doña Ana County, to any LCPS school site.

Jacquez moving to APS

It was the final presentation before the school board for Jacquez, who received thanks and praise at different points through the meeting for more than two decades of service at the district, from classroom teacher and principal to, most recently, supervisor of LCPS operations. Jacquez is moving on to a position at the Albuquerque Public Schools.

“Your success is the kids’ success, and you’re going to reach a lot of kiddos in Albuquerque,” board president Teresa Tenorio said, “and you’re going to be just a good leader for operations – and I think that Albuquerque needs a good, positive leader.”

Armed Marshals, town of Mesilla, schools