HOUSTON - While Houston area kids are spending their last few days of summer break, area law enforcement officers are coming together to secure a protection plan for the student's safe return to school. It’s a joint effort that will mean some who are returning to the building for the new school year will not be wearing a backpack and jeans but rather a badge and a police uniform.
After a year of virtual learning, this coming school year there will not only be kids in the classroom but also cops on campus.
Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman, for example, met with the six Police Chiefs for each of the school districts in his area (Aldine, Cy Fair, Humble, Klein, Spring, and Tomball ISD) and several officers for a meeting to map out how more than 200 Precinct 4 Deputies will help safely start the school year.
"We will work school zones for them. We will work checking campuses, walking halls for them," he explained. "These kids live in our communities and it’s very important for the constables and the ISD police to make a very safe learning environment for our kids," says Constable Herman.
Constable Herman says this initiative comes particularly at a time when there’s an uptick in crime.
"The crime rate throughout Harris County is up," the constable said. "That plays a big factor into this operation. Crime goes where the people are. When you have people at schools and lots of people, crime will be in those areas and it’s important for us to be there to protect our kids."
"While I have seen the stats that there is the uptick, we’re going to continue doing all hands on deck," David Kimberly Klein ISD Chief of Police added. "We’re going to continue doing exactly what we’ve always done and that is everything we can do to provide a safe and secure environment for these kids to learn in."
There will be a saturation of police presence the first two weeks of school and it will begin to taper off to specific initiatives such as pursuing people illegally passing school buses, "and those deputies will be on those buses to radio to other assets ‘hey, we just had a red convertible pass the bus’ and they’ll end up arresting or writing citations," Herman explains.
All eight constables will lend deputies to districts for the start of school.
"I have the most districts in my area," Constable Herman said. "So mine of course is bigger but I have a bigger agency to contribute to it."
"I can’t tell you how grateful I am as the Chief of Police in Klein ISD that we have these phenomenal community partnerships," Chief Kimberly added. "It's that added layer, letting the community know we’re there and letting the bad guys know we’re there."
Because the officers will be there, the plan is to pull off a safe and smooth school year.
Chief Kimberly also wants to remind parents:
"We’re going to have this large influx of traffic again back in our school zones.," he said. "We’ll have our buses moving, loading and unloading. I ask our parents to show some grace, leave early and make sure they allow extra time. Please be patient."