AUSTIN, Texas - Former Dallas Secret Service agent John P. Scott will be in charge of safety and security at schools across Texas.
Gov. Greg Abbott appointed Scott to the newly created role of Chief of School Safety and Security on Monday.
"I am honored to join the Texas Education Agency in this capacity," Scott said. "I plan to work closely with partner agencies and school systems across the state to keep our students and staff safe."
The TEA was tasked with creating the new position following the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde in May.
Chief Scott’s specific duties in this new role still remain vague. In his announcement, the governor used broad terms to explain what Scott would do, like ensuring schools use best practices and act as a resource to districts and lawmakers.
The announcement also said Scott would help implement new laws passed by the legislature.
"Protecting Texas children and making our schools safer for all are top priorities, and John Scott is uniquely qualified to help lead our efforts ensuring their safety and security in Texas schools," said Gov. Abbott. "Chief Scott's wealth of experience in security and intelligence and exemplary service to our nation make him the perfect fit as the new Chief of School Safety and Security."
"Some people would view it as a political ploy. This is something that needs to be done," said State Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas). "I am glad it has been done, even though it's right after the debate. The fact is it needed to be done."
Before his time in the Secret Service, Scott served in the U.S. Army as a field artillery officer and captain. He’s never worked law enforcement on a school campus.
Former Dallas ISD Police Chief Craig Miller says that could be a concern.
"I am somewhat concerned that a person who has never worked on a campus or experience dealing with school administrators will understand exactly what their needs are. That’s not taking away from this person because he is very intelligent, very qualified," he said.
"We have accountably in terms of ratings for schools, in terms of academic performance and also financial performance," West said. "We should also have an accountability system in terms of school security."
West thinks a school safety bill can be one of the first that comes to the governor’s desk next year.
"As long as it’s a bipartisan bill with Democrats and Republicans having an opportunity to give input into the process, it’ll get done," he said.
Miller said about 30% of state districts have their own police departments, and the rest rely on local law enforcement. So any possible new laws will have to be able to be implemented by both types of school security agencies.