AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Independent School District’s police chief is officially moving east after news of his resignation was made public on Friday.
Cypress-Fairbanks ISD posted an announcement on their website Monday stating that Chief Eric Mendez will begin as the chief of the district’s police the week of June 19. Mendez replaces Chief Alan Bragg, who is retiring after 45 years in law enforcement. The school district, which covers northwest Harris County, has 115,000 compared to Austin ISD’s 85,000.
“This is a great opportunity, not just professionally but also personally,” said Chief Mendez, whose mother, brother and sister-in-law live in CFISD. “I look forward to the professional challenges and growth I am going to have there, and to be close to family again.”
Cypress-Fairbanks ISD said Mendez was a originally a finalist for the job six years ago when the department was created. More recently, Mendez applied for the position on Feb. 28 and was interviewed on April 20.
On April 21, Mendez said his department mishandled an investigation into the possible sexual assault of a 4-year-old Boone Elementary School student. Mendez said AISD police failed to get a medical record vital to determining whether a sexual assault occurred. “It is an important step that we should have taken,” Mendez said in a statement, deciding to reopen the case from Feb. 7.
AISD maintained the purpose of Friday’s news conference was to point out the process for Mendez’s career advancement “began months ago, before any of the news of this week broke. And even if he may have become aware of the advancement and he’s being selected in that process, he wanted to be sure we got through this week with our parent meetings in order to wait for that to be announced,” district spokesperson Reyne Telles said.
Mendez joined AISD police in March 1999, starting as a patrol officer and working his way up through the chain of command, while getting a bachelor’s degree from the University of Phoenix and master’s degree from Sam Houston State University. Mendez was named chief of AISD police in August 2012. He previously worked in Kingsville, Texas as a patrol officer for more than eight years.
“I feel that my time in a large district like Austin ISD has given me the opportunity to learn and grow and take on this new challenge in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD,” Chief Mendez said in a statement. “It is definitely a plus to join a department where positive relationships exist with the surrounding community. My goal will be not just to maintain those, but to cultivate even stronger ties. We want to help students grow and be successful, not just during their time in Cy-Fair but as they graduate and move on to higher education or the workforce.”