San Jacinto College dual credit student Marco Tapia, left, chats with San Jacinto College Police Chief Bill Taylor at the School Safety Town Hall Meeting that was held at the North Campus. Photo credit: Rob Vanya, San Jacinto College marketing department.
Sheriff appeals for community collaboration at school safety meeting
Rob Vanya, January 29, 2013
HOUSTON – Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia appealed to the community for collaboration at a School Safety Town Hall Meeting, hosted by the Sheriff’s office on Thursday, Jan. 24 at San Jacinto College North.
“It’s impossible for there to be a cop on every corner,” Garcia commented. “We look to parents to share responsibility. We need citizens to volunteer and get involved in community watch programs. We encourage college students to get involved on campus and make a positive impact. We are all in this together and we need the help of everyone to police our communities.”
San Jacinto College dual credit student Marco Tapia said the meeting was informative and helpful. “The main take-away I got was that police are very involved in school safety, and they are also very concerned,” said Tapia, who is a junior at Channelview High School, and also attends San Jacinto College as a criminal justice major. Tapia said he feels shootings on campus are more of a societal issue than a school issue. “I am a teenager, and I know that a young person can definitely be influenced – either for good or bad – by other people, and by surroundings,” he commented. “There are so many bad influences for young people in our society -- the gang culture, the movies, the media, rap and hip-hop music, all the violent video games.”
He said he is pursuing criminal justice as a career because he wants to be a positive influence. “I want to be a Sheriff’s deputy,” Tapia said. “I want to make a difference and help make the community a better place.”
Jimmy Cook, an active shooter expert with the Sherriff’s office, assured attendees that every police department in the greater Houston area, including campus police, have units that are trained to respond to active shooter situations. Dr. Steve Head, president of Lone Star College College North Harris (LSCNH), complimented Sheriff deputies, campus police, and other officers for their prompt response to the recent shooting at LSCNH, and for the way the different police departments collaborated. “Shortly after the report of the shooting there were more than 100 officers on campus to help with crowd control and evacuation, and they quickly got the situation under control,” Head commented. “I can assure students and parents that police officers are your friends.”
Garcia talked about new resources that help Sheriff’s deputies to get crime tips, such as iWatchHarrisCounty, a free application for smart phones and tablet computers. The free app allows users to submit crime tips anonymously, including photos and videos, so that police can learn quickly about criminal or suspicious activities. “The iWatch app has already allowed our deputies to put more than two dozen bad guys behind bars, and we expect more results,” Garcia remarked. He said Harris County residents can also submit crime tips at the Sheriff’s office website at www.hcso.hctx.net, and via Twitter using the handle @HCSOTexas.
San Jacinto College Police Chief Bill Taylor summarized measures being taken by the College’s police department to maximize security on all three campuses. “San Jacinto College has reorganized its police department,” he commented. “The College is increasing the number of police officers and is investing heavily in additional training, including response to active shooter and other emergency situations, CPR, instructor and leadership training, and multicultural diversity training.” San Jacinto College has also invested in new police facilities, as well as new equipment for officers, such as protective body armor, ballistic helmets, patrol rifles and shotguns, new records management and computer-aided dispatch software, and video surveillance cameras.
An estimated 330 people attended the town hall meeting, which included local and national media. In addition to representatives from San Jacinto and Lone Star colleges, panelists at the meeting included representatives from the Houston, Channelview, Galena Park, and Sheldon independent school districts, Houston City Council District B, Mental Health America of Greater Houston, and the Harris County Pct. 3 Constable’s office.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. The Achieving the Dream Leader College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 students in more than 200 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $630 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.
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