Armed School Security

Armed Security Officers To Begin Work in Rio Rancho Schools
Posted on 03/07/2019

Security officers at CHSEarlier this school year, the Rio Rancho Public Schools Board of Education approved a plan to introduce armed security officers into Rio Rancho schools.  For the past several months, the district has been working on implementation of the detailed plan presented last fall to the school board and to the community including extensive and detailed training for the first 12 security officers who will be authorized to carry firearms on RRPS campuses. 

This process has now been completed, and since Monday, March 11, armed school security officers have been present on our school campuses.  The largest concentration of officers are stationed at the two large high school campuses, Rio Rancho High and Cleveland High, with other officers rotating onto elementary, middle, and other high school campuses.  We would note that the Rio Rancho Police Department School Resource Officers (SRO’s), who are sworn members of the City of Rio Rancho police force detailed to school campuses, will also continue to be present at our schools. 

The RRPS armed security force, along with our unarmed security personnel, will serve under the direction of Executive Director of Safety and Security Sal Maniaci and Safety and Security Director Mike Padilla, both of whom are highly qualified former Rio Rancho police officers.  The armed members of our security team are select, specially trained retired law enforcement officers, retired correctional officers, or ex-military members who have volunteered for the program.  They were required to pass medical and psychological screenings, pass a firearms competency test, complete other training courses and meet the same standards used by the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy.  We thank them for our commitment to the safety of our students and staff.

The Rio Rancho school board did not enter into the decision to arm security officers lightly.  The decision was made after six months of intensive review, development of rigorous policies and procedures, and community input and surveys which showed a large majority of parents and community members supported a carefully-implemented and monitored armed security program.

Armed security officers are only one component of a larger, more comprehensive school safety picture, which also includes:

  • Restricting campus access
  • Ongoing installation of additional security features such as electronic door locks, improved fencing, security cameras, and surveillance
  • Support services and counseling for students in crisis, and
  • Most importantly: nurturing a culture in our schools where students and staff are willing to tell someone if they see or hear something that causes a concern for their safety. 

We would like to thank our staff members, parents, students and community members for supporting our security team and ask that you to continue to help them by sharing information regarding threats to student safety.  Thank you for your cooperation as we work together to keep our schools safe.