FORT BEND (FOX 26) - It's easy for Cole Jackson to talk casually with law enforcement officers. There's a reason for that.
"Law enforcement is kind of the family business. My father is in law enforcement so I hope to pursue a career in it the next few years." he says.
That's exactly why all these law enforcement agencies are at George Ranch High School. They are looking for more Cole Jacksons. George Ranch students got a chance to meet with officers as well as check out the equipment from sniper rifles, to armored cars, to helicopters..
These are hard times for law enforcement recruiting. There have been a series of incidents that have portrayed law enforcement in a seriously negative light.
There's little hard evidence about how tough recruiting has become, it's mostly anecdotal. Police Chief Magazine has gone so far as to call it a public sector crisis. It cites better opportunities in the private sector and for higher education the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and negative publicity over racial profiling and excessive force.
George Ranch might be one of the better places for law enforcement recruiters to target. It has it's own criminal justice program. Teacher Claudia Urbina says they're bucking the national trend.
"There's this fear that you are not going to have kids enrolled but it's surprising. Kids want to go into this profession. My program keeps growing every year." she says.
In fact we didn't have to look very hard to find students who are pretty gung ho, students like Jamyra fields. She has her career all planned out.
"Homicide detective. Very specific. No, no, no. I'm not going to start out as a detective but I'm going to be a homicide detective." she says.
And while not everyone is sold, some students admitted that meeting officers in this setting did change their perceptions.
"If you treat them with respect that changes what happens, yeah. I guess my outlook on them is different." says Chimaze Eze.
Not a bad start, when you think about it.