RENO, NV - “There's a lot of rumors, is there something he did wrong in the past. Something related to Sparks Middle. None of that is the case. I have nothing but respect for Chief Mieras,” says Superintendent Pedro Martinez.
Martinez says former police chief Mike Mieras' extensive experience had turned into a hindrance for the district.
After 20 years on the force, 12 years as chief, Martinez says Mieras was incapable of looking at this department with a fresh set of eyes.
“If I had been doing his job for 20 years and somebody said, you know I want you to have a fresh perspective, a new vision, I think it would be very difficult for me to do that, because I'm a human being,” says Martinez
Martinez says he wants to know why there are more school district police here per student than in Clark County.
Is there a balance of officers to buildings to patrolmen--is the district using staff efficiently?
“We want to have a 90% graduation rate by 2020,” says Martinez.
And does firing Mike Mieras bring up your graduation rates?
“So again, going back to the reason we made this decision to transition Chief Mieras. We wanted somebody to come in with a fresh perspective. I have learned the hard way, you know with all the incidents we have had in the last 12 months, that we cannot minimize the role of safety in a building. The reality is children cannot learn if they don't feel safe,” says Martinez.
Martinez says as superintendent he has the legal authority to fire department heads without notifying the voter-elected school board of trustees.
As a matter of fact, he said, he went above and beyond and consulted with Chair Barbara Clark and the Vice Chair of the board for months about the police department prior to the Friday termination.
He said those discussions went on with six of the seven board members during that time.
Trustee Chair Barbara Clark told us earlier this week she found out about the Mieras firing on Friday.
Wednesday, she told us Martinez had talked to her over a period of months about the restructuring of school police department.
She says she believed Martinez had the same conversations with each individual trustee over that same period of time.