Reno, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV)--Washoe County School Superintendent Pedro Martinez talked publically for the first time since abruptly firing School Police Chief Mike Mieras. The News 4 "On Your Side" team asked Martinez several questions. The first was why the silence? Mieras was fired on Friday. Martinez did not explain the dismissal publically until today. He said, "The reason I didn't say anything was out of respect for Mike. He asked us to hold off on talking to the media, the community as well as his staff. It wasn't until the news got leaked and released we were forced to talk."
Martinez said he had been considering a change in the leadership of the School Police Department for about a year. He said he consulted with all the School Board members about this over the course of the year, except one, adding this one Board member has chosen not to meet with him. He said in the last few months, he consulted with the Board President and Vice President. However Martinez noted, "What they didn't know was the specific details of the day I was going to do it." Martinez said in retrospect he might have communicated to the Board members differently. He said, "I'm always looking to improve."
The Superintendent said he wanted to quell any rumor there was a specific reason for Mieras dismissal. He said, "It's nothing like that. It had nothing to do with incidents that occurred at Sparks Middle School or any other incident." Martinez said he made his decision based on the desire to have a "fresh set of eyes" leading the department. "We have right now more police officers on a per student basis than Clark does and we have a certain mixture of police and school buildings versus patrolmen. I want somebody to look at best practices. I just want to have a fresh look at this,"he said. He added, "I gave this a lot of thought and I didn't feel that our current Chief would give me that type of vision."
We asked the Superintendent if he was surprised by the interest in Mieras dismissal . He said, "I'm completely surprised but I also know that this community is a very close knit community. I have tremendous respect for Mike and the work he's done."
Martinez said he realizes his decision is controversial. He said, "You know, they're seven trustees. I respect everybody's opinion. There's going to be one or two that may disagree on the ultimate decision, but personnel matters are the purview of the Superintendent."