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To serve and protect Deming schools

From right, Deming police officers Nick Perez and Robert Chavez talk with Deming High School students Liz Flournoy, 17, Rosa Villagrana, 17 and Azucena Mireles, 17. (Deming Headlight)

DEMING — When Deming Police Officer Nick Perez entered the workforce, it was nothing like what he expected.

On Nov. 19, 1999, then 13-year-old student Victor Cordova pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and 11 counts of aggravated assault and was sentenced to state custody after fatally shooting 13-year-old classmate, Araceli Tena at the Deming Middle School, now Deming Intermediate. Officer Perez was there are at the scene. It was his rookie year.

“I remember coming down and saying man, what am I getting into?” Perez said. “I started that Monday; the incident happened the week before.”bright spot

Perez along with patrolman Robert Chavez and Luna County Sheriff Deputy Richard Huerta took on the new leadership role as School Resource Officers for Deming Public Schools this past August. The program will allow for Perez, Chavez and Huerta to offer companionship, while entrusting their abilities to serve and protect in a school setting.

Perez deals and interacts with older kids at Deming Intermediate and may occasionally assist officer Chavez with Deming High School. Huerta attends to county-located schools like Columbus Elementary and may occasionally help with different schools in the district.

Perez, Chavez and Huerta primarily oversee secondary school settings, but their services may eventually expand to the total of 5,400 students in Luna County and while still managing to continue with their regular duties within their departments.

Perez had the desire to become an SRO due to his concerns for the safety of his three daughters who attend Deming High School, and the increasing amount of school shootings across the country.

“I wanted my kids to be comfortable,” Perez said. “And by me being here, or Officer Chavez being here, or other officers being here make them feel that way; I am happy, I am satisfied.”