Spokane Public Schools looking for new security chief... again

Spokane Public Schools' new director of campus security, transportation and risk management Santos Picacio resigned last week, just weeks into the job, when his alleged history of abuse surfaced.

Brian Coddington, spokesman for Spokane Public Schools, says both the school district and the Spokesman-Review received an anonymous tip last week containing divorce records alleging abuse by Picacio, who is 46. Those documents included allegations that he threatened to kill his wife and a divorce decree claiming that Picacio had a "history of domestic violence," the Spokesman-Review reported.

The school district — just months after its hiring practices were criticized for missing previous allegations of excessive force by one of its school resource officers — was not aware of Picacio's alleged abuse when it initially hired him. Coddington says the district was in the process of confirming the authenticity of the claims when Picacio resigned.

Now, Spokane Public Schools is finding someone to fill the role on an interim basis as it once again searches for a permanent replacement, Coddington says. Last school year, former district director of communications Kevin Morrison served as the interim security chief when Mark Sterk retired from the job. Coddington says it could take a few months to find a permanent replacement.

Coddington says all applicants go through background checks that would find any criminal offenses. In Picacio's case, they did not find any arrests or police reports or convictions. But the district's hiring process does not include a review of civil matters like divorce records. Right now, it's unclear if that process will be amended in the district's search for a new security chief.

"We're still discussing that," Coddington says.

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Wilson Criscione

Wilson Criscione is the Inlander’s news editor. Aside from writing and editing investigative news stories, he enjoys hiking, watching basketball and spending time with his wife and cat.