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United ISD Adds Eight New Police Officers to Police Department

Posted Date: 02/09/2024

United ISD Adds Eight New Police Officers to Police Department

The United Independent School District has eight new officers on its police force, most arriving with many years of experience at other law enforcement agencies.  The eight men were sworn in by UISD Chief of Police Aaron Salazar at a special ceremony at the Bill Johnson Student Activity Complex on Feb. 8. Family members participated in the swearing-in by helping to pin the new badges on their uniforms.  Before the police chief and other high ranking department leaders, the new recruits also signed an Oath of Office as the newest members of the UISD Police Department. 

UISD Chief of Police Aaron Salazar said this was a significant signing due to the number of recruits and total years of experience between them.  Although some of the recruits are recent academy graduates, most have served within other law enforcement organizations previously.  

“We see a lot of familiar faces at this ceremony.  These are individuals we have worked alongside for years, and they will enhance our ability to continue to network with other agencies,” said Chief Salazar.  “We also sponsored UISD employees that came through our Police Academy program with Laredo College, Laredo College Regional Law Enforcement Academy.”

Congratulations to the new UISD police officers listed with previous job and experience: Luis Aguirre, Fire Dept. 30 years; Guillermo Lopez LPD 24 years; Rene Rodriguez LPD 24 years; Jose Villarreal Pct. 2; Alvaro Mendoza Pct. 2; Joe Castillo UISD; Oscar Mata UISD; Edgardo Hernandez UISD.

“The UISD Police Department currently provides one police officer at each campus,” adds Chief Salazar. “We have been leaders in this area since 2013, serving as an example for other districts around the state.”

 Joe Castillo graduated from the Police Academy after working with UISD as a security guard.  

“I’m excited to start my new career.  So far it’s been great. I was one of 21 people who graduated from the Police Academy.  It was challenging – we were presented with different possible scenarios and trained on how to respond accordingly. We also had to pass an agility course and background check.”

Oscar Mata worked as a dispatcher for UISD Police when he applied to the UISD program which sponsors qualified employees at the Police Academy.  

“We waited about five months to finish the Academy, and now we are finally getting sworn in; we are ready,” said Mata.  “It’s something that I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid.  I looked up to the role of a police officer, and today was the day we finally got that title.” 

UISD is the largest district in Region 1, serving three cities El Cenizo, Rio Bravo and Laredo.  With the new officers, UISD now has 89 officers to protect and serve students, faculty and staff of the district. Protecting its 41,000 students is our top priority at four high schools, four 9th grade campuses, 12 middle, and 30 elementary schools, one Cherish Center for special needs children, along with the district’s alternative STEP Academies. 

Mata recommends the program to individuals interested in helping to keep our schools safe.  He says some of the skills necessary to be a police officer are problem solving and crisis management.

“We learn how to deal with stressful situations and how to stay calm,” he says. “You test yourself and know when you are ready for this job.”


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