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Mart ISD complaint: Police chief did not support the district during school threat

Posted at 3:02 PM, Jan 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-04 08:42:02-05

MART, TX — The Mart Independent School District has filed a complaint against Mart Chief of Police Albert Cavazos.

On Monday, the Board of Trustees approved sending a letter of complaint to the City of Mart regarding Chief Cavazos.

According to the district, the complaint is regarding the department's response after a student made a terroristic threat towards Mart High.

The complaint says that around 5:45 p.m. on Jan. 7, a Snapchat video was brought to the attention of the superintendent. In the Snapchat video, a student is displaying weapons and threatening the school.

The superintendent immediately contacted Cavazos and requested to have an officer report to the ongoing basketball games. She also contacted another off-duty officer to attend the games.

Cavazos arrived at the gym around 7 p.m. and said that he did not feel like there was enough to convict the student.

The complaint said that Cavazos did not want to approach the student until the end of the game, while Superintendent Betsy Burnett pushed him to find the student immediately.

After Cavazos found the student, there was no more communication.

In fact, the complaint said that Burnett was informed by the Mart City Manager that the student was not arrested. The district requested the help from the McLennan County Sheriff's Office, but they were unable to help because they weren't actually contacted by the Mart Police Department, who had an open case on the matter. They did, however, send a deputy to patrol the area.

On Jan. 8, the superintendent prepared a press release to notify parents of the threat and the pending arrest. She was told by Cavazos that he would take care of a heightened police presence at the school the next day. The student was arrested around 8:45 p.m.

The next day, Burnett realized there were no officers on campus, according to the complaint. After speaking to Cavazos, Burnett learned that the constable was supposed to arrive, but did not. The constable arrived around 7:45 a.m.

The complaint said that on Jan. 10, the school was patrolled by 3 deputies, a constable and Mart police.

The complaint goes on to say that they did not feel supported by the Mart Chief of Police in this matter.

It was signed by the superintendent, the school board president, the school board secretary, the school board vice president and three school board trustees.

Two trustees did not sign due to absences.

Mart City Manager Kevin Schaffer said the complaint was handed to Chief Cavazos Tuesday morning and said he has a reasonable time period to respond.

"Since this complaint was filed, the next decision by the city council is whether or not they want to have a special meeting or wait until the next meeting," said Schaffer.

Chief Cavazos is currently on probation for an unrelated incident. He was placed on probation in October 2019.