TEXAS CITY, Texas - It’s typically after a school shooting when metal detectors go up and safety plans are put in place, but Texas City ISD now has $6.5 million dollars worth of technology designed to keep their schools safe and a new security director.
He appears to be going beyond doing what he can to keep kids safe. He’s also asking for the community's help. This former secret service agent recently put residents to the test. So did they make the grade?
Well, it looks like we, the community as a whole, get a big fat “F” when it comes to reporting suspicious activity after a recent security experiment in Texas City.
"I was a little bit displeased with the fact that no one had called the police on us,” exclaims Mike Matranga.
Who wants someone to call the police on them and who is this Mike Matranga? He’s Texas City ISD’s new executive director of security, a newly created position to help keep the kids safe.
"We’ve got to get people where their radar is up and they're on high alert,” Matranga says.
In addition to putting millions of dollars of facial recognition cameras and chipped I.D. cards in place in the district’s schools, Matranga says a watchful community is the key to staying safe.
"We truly want people to say something when they see something that’s not normal," he says.
So for five days, this former secret service agent who was permanently assigned to President Obama and now protects Texas City kids, drove around with one other man doing things some may consider suspicious, including driving on the grass by an elementary school playground while kids were outside.
"Getting that close, taking snapshots with range finders and binoculars. That’s not normal. We were on top of our buildings. We were on top of my car,” Matranga explains.
Matranga also walked around.taking pictures at church entrances, stores and parks.
"I had a beard, was wearing shorts, baseball cap, hoodie,” and for days no one reported him, he explained.
He posted his results and his disappoint on Facebook and the post went viral.
"I really want to convey to the public we just need them to be a partner with us," he said.
Only one man, in five days, called the police on Matranga outside a school.
So, would you report or even notice odd behavior?
"If I see it, definitely, I would,” says area resident Wail Ukaily.
"I think I would. I think so," Alissa Taylor admits.
When asked was she sure, she said, "No.”
Resident Marilyn Howard had this reaction-- “I would pray about it."
When asked if she would say a little prayer, but not necessarily call police, or if she just wouldn’t want to get involved, she said while laughing, "Yeah, because right now I’m tired.”
Matranga says from 2000 to 2008, someone knew about 93 percent of the mass shootings before they occurred, but didn’t tell anyone until after. He says he conducted this experiment to remind us that simply reporting suspicious behavior could avoid a major tragedy.