Gutierrez’s first day resulted in only two citations

Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Alice Echo-News Journal

On his first day at William Adams Middle School, COPS in Schools Deputy Javier Gutierrez gave out two citations, one for disorderly conduct and one for disruption in a classroom.

It was a gentle start compared to the first day for Deputy Jason Childers, COPS in Schools officer for Alice High School. His first day was marked by six citations for disorderly conduct and the arrest and detainment of two female students for assault, one involving an AHS assistant principal.

Both officers said Thursday they were committed to making the two campuses a safer environment for AISD students.

Jim Wells County Sheriff Oscar Lopez said both the deputies and security guards on campus have different duties to perform, but they share the same goal of keeping the students safe.

“Safety is always our number one concern. The safety of the students and the teachers,” Lopez said. “We’ve been working well with principals, teachers and students. They know that we are there to assist everyone. We’re very proud of the program. It’s done wonders for us and the public. I believe the parents of those students are more at ease knowing their children are safe.”

Childers was previously an officer with the Premont Police Department and has been with JWC for more than nine months. When Childers first heard of the position opening up at AHS, he considered it because he wanted to spend more time with his family.

He assumed it would be much like the position at Orange Grove High School or Ben Bolt High School.

“It’s not like the other campuses, it’s pretty busy over here,” Childers said. “I’m having fun, though, working with the kids. It’s a lot different than patrol work.”

He said the students and staff have been supportive of his presence on campus, and have remarked on the big differences they see happening at the campus. Childers said the AHS security staff plays a vital role on campus. He said he hasn’t seen any resentment from them about his role on campus, and in fact, Childers said they’re happy to have him there, because as a law enforcement officer, there are things he can do that they can’t.

“They see it as additional help. There’s things I can do as an officer that they can’t, but at the same time, there are things they can do that I can’t,” Childers said. “I’m really glad security is here. I don’t think one officer can do it by themself.”

Gutierrez spent his first day at WAMS patrolling the halls between classes, and tending to calls as necessary with the WAMS security officers. A former San Diego Police Officer, Gutierrez said this was the first time he has served as a school resource officer. At SDPD, Gutierrez handled patrol and investigative work, but he said he specifically volunteered for an assignment at WAMS when he joined the Jim Wells County Sheriff’s Department. He felt serving there was a way to really make a difference in the community.

“On the first day, the students’ reactions have been mixed. Some are welcoming, and others are confused. Some of the students were accepting of my presence here, others weren’t,” Gutierrez said. “I volunteered to work here because I felt it would be a challenge.”

Gutierrez said he received very positive responses from teachers and staff on campus. He said he ran into no major problems Thursday. With a courteous, but firm demeanor, Gutierrez plans on maintaining a safe environment for both students and staff at WAMS.

At the end of the day, Gutierrez expressed anticipation over his new role.

“I can’t wait for the day to end, so I can start over again,” he said.