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El Centro police, probation officials affirm presence on 3 campuses

March 12, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

El Centro police and county probation officials said this morning they are maintaining an increased presence at the three high school campuses in the Central Union High School District following threats of violence last week.

El Centro police Lt. Paul Longoria said police will do foot patrols at the campuses and increase patrols around the schools this week. Unmarked squad cars will patrol around the schools.

County Chief Probation Officer Mike Kelley said he has increased the number of probation officers at the schools, adding the increased staff will remain on the campuses this week. The situation will then be reviewed to determine if that increased presence is needed next week.

The action by authorities follows incidents in which violence was threatened in the wake of the Santana High School shooting in Santee.

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At Southwest High, a 16-year-old student was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of making terrorist threats to a school administrator.

Police have declined to speak specifically about the nature of the alleged threat. That student, whose identity has not been released, was booked into juvenile hall.

In a separate incident last week the Central district took steps to heighten security at each of its campuses after school officials received an anonymous tip that someone was planning a shooting at Central High.

The rumors never came to fruition, but school officials said they had to take action to protect students and staff.

School officials said they take threats seriously and Longoria and Kelley said they must take threats seriously and will act when they occur.

They added their actions have not been fueled by the Santee shooting but they have long had policies of acting on such threats.

Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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