SOUTHLAKE (CBS 11 NEWS) – Students and parents in Southlake, some still apprehensive over the plan to have armed officers in schools, met the armed police officers who will be assigned to schools for the first time Wednesday. The city hired officers this summer to work at every campus in the Carroll Independent School District.

The 12 officers, nine of them new to the department and district, met with families at a district safety fair at Carroll High School. Their guns drew some wide-eyed looks from younger students.

After a few handshakes though, and short conversation, parents like Phoung Costa said their initial concerns were eased. “Yes, I did have concerns about it, but I see now they’re just going to be there to help us,” she said. One of her daughters will be at Rockenbaugh elementary where Ken West will work. After a 26-year career with the Hurst PD, followed by administrative positions in other cities, West said he felt called to return to law enforcement.

“I raised three sons and I try to be a good role model for them, and I still have that desire to do that for young kids, “ he said.

West will be working in a district that is still adding safety improvements to campus as the summer ends. Secondary students will receive electronic entry badges once school pictures are taken this year. Playgrounds will be fenced in within a few weeks.

There is also additional surveillance on school buses and stronger background checks for parents and volunteers. The improvements are happening under a plan now called Operation SafeDragon that started with discussions between the city and the school district following the school shooting in Connecticut in 2012.

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