(FOX 11) - The LA school police says its mission is to protect the children. Our future. But now an LA school police detective is telling his chilling story. And he has some big questions about school protection.
"Probably one of the hardest things to see in my life is to see a 12-year-old-with a round in his head." The words of a seasoned cop. Detective Rudy Perez speaking for the first time about what happened February 1st at Sal Castro Middle School. From the moment he heard the "active shooter" call at the school police station to seeing the victims he discusses the worst thing an officer can see. He rode with the most seriously injured in the ambulance -- the 12-year-old boy shot in the left temple.
In a halting voice and holding back his emotion, Perez says, "when you jump into this ambulance and you see this kid with a bullet in his head... it gets you angry. It gets you upset. Gets you emotional and to questions of how did we get to this and as we're traveling down to the hospital and you get to the hospital and you meet parents and you think 'how do I explain to this parent her son has a bullet in his head?"
He did... it wasn't easy.
Perez isn't just a detective--he's also the Vice President of his police union. The shooting February first highlights what he says should be a wakeup call for every parent. Says Perez, "We've lost 24 officers so far and four are on the way out." Officers lost to other departments paying as much as 35% more than LAUSD school police according to Perez and police union President Gil Gamez who told us, "We have become the surrogate training department for other departments. They come here get a lot of experience in the Academy. Two or three years and they go to another department for a 20 to 30% pay raise."
On the morning of the shooting.. school police officers says there was only one officer in this area. Not at Castro Middle School, but instead over there at Belmont High School."
According to the union LAUSD school police patrol 1100 sites. There are only 380 officers.
We took the union's concerns right to the LAUSD which said the normal deployment for an onsite officer was in place on Thursday, Feb 1. Normal deployment - one officer. But, this officer who responded, Rudy Perez, says "Imagine if I had a cop at Castro and Belmont ... hey I need help over here," they'd be on it.
Even with double the 380 officers they know the math doesn't support an officer on every campus all the time. We asked Perez, "Can you tell parents today that their kids are safe on campus? His response? "I can tell parents their kids are safe - but they're very very vulnerable."
Friday, we requested an interview with the School Police Chief. He has not yet accepted our invitation to discuss what the union is saying.