The Donna Independent School District’s Police Department is known for bringing in high-ranking, influential people from the sports world for special events. This year was no exception thanks to the district’s police chief Roy Padilla.
Padilla brought in former Dallas Cowboys great Larry Brown, the starting cornerback of the three Dallas Cowboys championship teams of the 1990s and Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XXX. Padilla invited him to come to Donna ISD to help raise money for the district’s Crime Stoppers and bring attention to the importance of the program. Brown didn’t hesitate to accept the chief’s offer.
“I’ve known the chief for a long time,” Brown said. “I first met him about 17 years ago. Myself and a number of Cowboys have loved what he has been doing. So whenever the chief asks us to come down to support stopping crime and helping kids and trying to keep schools safe, we’ve never said ‘no.’ He’s been committed to really making the community a better place for a long time.”
Padilla, who has been in law enforcement for 37 years in different capacities, oversees DISD’s Crime Stoppers. The program is separate from the emergency telephone number system or other standard methods of contacting police that allows students or employees to provide anonymous information about criminal activity. One of Padilla’s main responsibilities is to fundraise for the program. He thought what better way to do that this year than to invite a Dallas Cowboy. That’s when he reached out to one of the old time greats, Larry Brown.
“Larry Brown and a lot of the former Cowboys and current Cowboy players are close personal friends of mine,” Padilla said. They’re always willing to help nonprofit programs like our campus Crime Stoppers to help us raise funds.”
Padilla said his relationship with Brown and other Cowboys started many years ago when he headed up the Crime Stoppers program for a neighboring city police department. “It all started about 25 to 30 years ago,” Padilla recalled. “That’s when I first met former wide receiver Tony Hill. We hit it off the first day and now he’s like a brother to me. Just recently he had a double-knee replacement and we keep in touch almost daily.”
The highlight of the fundraiser was a Jail-a-thon. Brown played the role of a judge who set bonds for DISD employees arrested and summoned to appear before him to answer to silly made-up crimes. The bond was the amount of money the individual promised to donate to Crime Stoppers. Padilla set a goal of $5,000, but much to his surprise, the event raised $10,000.
“It’s very important to have an account available to offer as reward money if someone calls and reports any type of suspicious activity or tip,” Padilla said. “We have a hotline number set up through a cell phone where anybody can dial **ISDTIPS. The call is anonymous. If the call results in the case being solved, the caller is eligible for a cash reward of up to a $100. It’s easy money and nobody is going to know who you are. It’s all about keeping the campuses safe.”
“It’s going to help kids,” Brown said. “It’s going to help schools so I encourage everyone to support it whether you donate your time, whether you donate your money or whether you get involved in the program, so I would support it. They’ve been around a long time.”