Española School District Security Director Christian Lopez caught up the School Board Sept. 2 with where his investigations stood in regard to the many District burglaries over the past few months.
Española Elementary was burglarized and vandalized Jan. 24 and again on June 23. However, it’s gotten worse recently and burglars/vandals have become more active.
“We’ve had six burglaries within a two-week period,” Lopez said. “We’re working with Española Police Department and have a person of interest and they’re trying to locate him. He’s in the area.”
Lopez said surveillance captured the thief at one of the schools and he put it out on social media.
“I got several calls and passed that information on to EPD,” he said. “He moves at night, which makes it difficult. We’re watching everything we can and every time there’s an alarm call, we rush to it.”
Board member Jeremy Maestas asked about two radios stolen in the recent break-in at the Middle School.
“Two radios were stolen from the Middle School,” he said. “These radios were on somebody’s desk and were taken during a burglary.”
He asked why the security team doesn’t lock them up. Lopez said security does lock their radios at the end of the day, however, these belonged to staff.
President Gilbert Serrano suggested putting radios in a storage area that could be locked.
“We can’t be buying radios when staff just leave them on their desks,” he said.
Middle School Principal Veronica Montoya attended the meeting virtually and addressed the theft.
“That person used a key to get in the school,” she said. “Actually the radios were locked in offices, but the burglar had a key and entered our offices with a key. They weren’t left out in the open.”
Serrano wanted Lopez to arrange for some type of locker in which radios can be stored.
Maestas then asked if the Raptor system was operating. That software is supposed to alert guards when a registered sex offender tries to access school property.
Lopez said it was in use at the elementary schools and at the Middle School guard shack.
“But at the high school at the guard shack we have a problem with connectivity,” he said. “But other than that they are working.”
The two new guard shacks approved for purchase by the Board in July have been ordered, Lopez said.
“We’re getting quotes to refurbish the other shacks,” he said. “We want to add a porch so the guard isn’t in the weather when he comes out to speak with people.”
The old shacks will be painted school colors and moved to other areas.
One of the new shacks will go to the high school student parking lot to help with traffic control.
“We can also use them to help with ticket collections for games,” he said.
Board members wanted an update on traffic problems at schools during drop-off and pick-up. Parents are afraid for their children to ride buses because of the virus so many more parents are driving children back and forth to school.
Lopez said the Middle School traffic eased when parents figured out to go to the top of Industrial Park Road, make a U-turn and come down to the school from above.
“We still have some small problems at Española Elementary, but traffic picks back up after a few minutes,” Lopez said. “The biggest problem we have now is parents who park on the road and walk their kids into the school.”