DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – On the rear side of Spence Middle School’s north central campus in Dallas, hundreds of students wander through a bottle neck of bodies, looking for buses to board, parents to arrive or siblings to walk with as the school day comes to a close.
In the middle of the mass of middle schoolers, two uniformed officers are directing the traffic of juvenile pedestrians and adult drivers, completing one of the daily duties of keeping children safe.
The officers work for the Dallas Independent School District’s Police Department.
Tuesday, the department’s new Chief of Police, John Lawton discussed the steps taken to keep Dallas ISD schools safe.
“We have 128 sworn officers and 50 security personnel for 230 schools. We have to create an environment that people feel safe, so they can go and learn,” Chief Lawton said.
Officers will be assigned identified campuses, along with security personnel.
The district also employs a district-wide surveillance network, that provides hundreds of cameras positioned inside and outside school buildings.
Gang intervention officers are part of the district security force, and school officers spent the summer training and preparing for active shooter scenario.
“I think what we have to understand is the landscape across the nation in regards to our schools has changed. We have to create an environment where people feel safe,” Chief Lawton emphasized.
Chief Lawton is a 30-year law enforcement veteran.
He spent 23 years with the Dallas Police Department.