LAS CRUCES, New Mexico — Administrators at Las Cruces public schools answered questions on school safety from parents during a town hall Wednesday night, just as the new academic year is beginning.
“We take action here in Las Cruces and we are taking it serious, because we don’t want it to happen. To me, one life is extremely important, whether it’s student or staff,” Ralph Ramos, superintendent of Las Cruces public schools, said.
Both federal and local law enforcement were in attendance at the meeting in council chambers. Local law enforcement went through their protocols and training in the event of an active shooter, something residents asked about during the meeting. The questions were in relation to the lack of response from law enforcement in the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting. Lt. Joy Wiitala said the school resource officers in Las Cruces police are trained to be a one-person team during an active shooter event.
“We are trained to go in and stop the threat. Even if it’s just one of us,” Lt. Wiitala said.
A lot of people in attendance were concerned about the lack of school resource officers in elementary schools. Las Cruces police say they have enough staffing to put an SRO in every high school and middle school within LCPS. Ramos says those officers will still be able to respond to threats in those schools without SROs.
“These officers are very available to be within elementary schools as rapidly as they can, within seconds, minutes in some cases,” Ramos said.
“The safety of our kids needs to be paramount. Period. Not having those in elementary? Give me a break. It absolutely makes no sense,” Adolf Zubia, who has a grandchild in school, said at the meeting.