FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The Fort Worth Independent School District unveiled a plan Friday to protect kids by adding more security at elementary schools. The plan does not involve police officers. Instead, the district and the Fort Worth Police Department are enlisting a group called Citizens on Patrol, or COP.
They don’t carry guns, they carry police radios. They’re trained to observe, report a problem and wait for the police to intervene.
They will keep an eye on the Fort Worth elementary schools and, if a situation arises, they can request emergency help directly through police channels. Some of the group’s members will also take an extended Police Academy training class. There will also be ongoing training performed once each month.
Fort Worth parents like the idea of added protection for children. “It’s nice and assuring to me that someone would be right there to take care of her if something would happen,” said parent Brent Samuels.
The group will not only be looking out for larger threats, like weapons. They will also monitor for a variety of issues ranging from drug transactions to bullying. The volunteers can notify police when any of these problems turn into something severe.
More than 800 Fort Worth residents are already part of the volunteer group to be the eyes and ears of their neighborhood. Bob and Maureen Beaucond are two of them. “Extra eyes and ears to alert the police if there’s a problem,” Bob Beaucond said.
“At any time, we can go onto the police channel and request something, if it’s an emergency,” added Maureen Beaucond. “We have a lot of things we learn about very sensitive issues.”
The city hopes to add more as they expand the COP program to FWISD schools.
The program will cover 82-schools beginning next August. Initially, COP will patrol around schools. Eventually, those patrols will move into the school’s hallways. FWISD superintendent Walter Dansby says he hopes the civilian patrols will weave themselves into an every day part of a child’s education.
If everything goes according to plan, Fort Worth officials hope to see the program expanded to a national model for school security.
To learn more about the Citizens on Patrol program, Click HERE.
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