In reverence to the people of Uvalde, Texas, Midlothian Mayor Richard Reno and Police Chief Carl Smith want to express their support of the Uvalde community. They also want to assure Midlothian citizens in the wake of this senseless tragedy that the safety of teachers, students, and all those who live and work here is their highest priority.
“As leaders, we have no better understanding of or explanation for the unimaginable incident that took place on Tuesday at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. However, as leaders, it is our duty to stop and evaluate what actions, if any, are needed,” they said in a joint statement.
City, school district, and police leadership have been in close communication since learning of the incident Tuesday. Police presence at all campuses has been increased this week and will continue through the last day of school and graduation activities.
Since 2005, Midlothian Police Department and the Midlothian Independent School District have partnered to provide the MISD School Resource Officer program. In August of 2019, Midlothian Police Commander Tim Hicks was named MISD Director of Safety and Security. Both the Board of Midlothian ISD and the Midlothian City Council approved the appointment as part of a joint effort between the Midlothian Police Department and MISD. While many school districts have a School Resource Officer program, and many even have their own police departments, merging the roles of the police SRO commander and the school’s security director is unique, and may be the first joint venture of its kind in Texas. The school district and City have agreed to share the financial responsibility of the SRO and security program.
Each year the number of resource officers dedicated to Midlothian public-school campuses has increased. Currently, there are an SRO Sergeant and 8 resource officers assigned to Midlothian schools. School resource officers have received in-depth training to respond to emergency situations, including active shooter, fire, and tornado. The goal of our SRO program is to provide on-site leadership and immediate corrective intervention to any emergency situation that could occur to protect our children and staff. In conjunction with Emergency Management at the city and county level, our SRO Commander constantly assesses threats, identifies preventive measures, and prepares for emergency response.
"Like everyone else, we are shocked to the core by this horrific event. As a result, we will continue to look for ways to improve safety at our schools and our community," they said.
At the request of Mayor Reno and Chief Smith, the public is invited to come together to mourn, remember, and heal at a community prayer vigil to be held at downtown Heritage Park, 234 N. 8th Street, in front of Midlothian City Hall on Friday night from 7 to 8 a.m. This will be a reverent and solemn observance.