CHIEF Manuel Chavira took the oath of office on January 19, 2021, to become the permanent EPISD Chief of Police after spending nearly a year on the job as the interim.
Chavira, a 7-year veteran of the EPISD Police Services Department and 31-year veteran of the El Paso Fire Department, was able to take on the oath after completing the certification process to become a full-fledged peace officer.
“It’s my honor to be able to serve the children and employees of EPISD in this role,” said Chavira, who before being interim chief served the District as the Safe and Secure Schools Manager. “We have the task of making sure our students and facilities remain safe, a challenge I take seriously, and I know my officers and staff share this sentiment with me.”
The EPISD Police force is made up of 44 officers who work 24-hours a day, seven days a week to protect and serve the students and staff of the District, as well as all facilities.
For Chavira, who retired from the city’s fire department as the assistant chief before coming to EPISD, the task ahead is one that can best be described as a call to duty.
As he speaks to his officers, he insists that they keep in mind four basic tenets to school security:
- Be safe.
- Be ready.
- Cover all legal aspects of patrolling.
- Provide outstanding customer service.
“I know that if we follow this philosophy, we can meet our mission and vision statements of keeping safety and security a priority in EPISD,” Chavira said.
The news of Chavira’s appointment as the permanent chief of police was a welcomed one throughout the District.
Trustee Al Velarde, a retired El Paso Police Department officer, said he has known Chavira for decades and worked alongside him in responding to crime scenes.
“He has done an outstanding job during his time in EPISD and when he was in the fire department,” Velarde said during Chavira’s oath ceremony. “I have nothing but respect for Chief Chavira … he’s a true professional.”
LIEUTENANT - Vacant
SERGEANT A. Molinar started with the School District Police in February 2005 and helps supervise the department, consisting of 37 officers, 6 dispatchers, and two clerical workers.
Sergeant Molinar retired from the El Paso Police Department after 25 years of service. His last 15 years were spent on the El Paso Police Gang Unit, to include Gang Intelligence and a member of the State recognized Drive-By Shooting Response Team. He also spent the last 15 years with the El Paso Police Department's Special Weapons & Tactics (SWAT) Team as an Assistant Entry Team Leader.
Sergeant Molinar supervises 20 Police Officers including the evening shift. He is responsible for the training needs of the department. Sergeant Molinar is a State Certified Firearms Instructor, TCOLE Certified Instructor, SWAT Instructor, and the Department's Gang Intelligence Officer. Sergeant Molinar has received numerous awards to include CLEAT Officer of the Year, Associated Texans against Crime Officer of the Year, and the Chief Meritorious Award.
SERGEANT R. Ortega currently supervises 14 field officers that include those officers assigned to school campuses and evening patrol. Sergeant Ortega also supervises the criminal investigation section and personally oversees all major crimes reported to this department.
Sergeant Ortega has over 17 years’ experience in dealing with the general public and has held several key positions in his career that includes being a School Teacher, Counselor and Probation Officer with El Paso County Adult Probation Department, Investigator with Child Protective Services, a Police Officer with both Clint and Anthony, Texas Police Departments, Patrol Officer, Investigator, School Resource Officer, and now a Police Sergeant with El Paso ISD Police Department. Sergeant Ortega currently holds all three Peace Officer Certificates through TECOLE, a Bachelors's and Master’s Degree from the University of Texas at El Paso.
SERGEANT JOHN SOLIS was promoted from one of two investigator assignments the department maintains. During his tenure Sgt. Solis worked in Middle Schools and high school settings. Sergeant Solis has overseen the department’s interaction with the El Paso County Juvenile Probation Department and has become a member of the SHOCAP (Serious Habitual Offender Comprehensive Action Program) since 2009. Sergeant Solis has been elected Vice-Chair of the SHOCAP Committee twice since 2009. Sergeant Solis was instrumental in the development and implementation of the Department owned LIVE SCAN used to process juvenile offenders and is responsible for the training and records involving juveniles. Sergeant Solis also maintains the departments UCR reporting, department statistics assists with evidence handling, traffic enforcement, and the department's RRT team. Sergeant Solis has been the department's TX Dot grant administrator since 2014. Sergeant Solis holds a Master Peace Officer Certification and has been a certified Texas Peace Officer for 22 years. Sergeant Solis is currently the department weapons armorer and is certified to teach Sergeant and radar for traffic enforcement. Sergeant Solis supervises 13 officers including 1 patrol shift. In addition to his required training, he has completed the FBI Command School, Texas Association of Property and Evidence Inventory Technicians, AR-15 armorer certification, Glock armorer certification.