​In an effort to bolster security across campuses and better ensure safety, Longview ISD is partnering with area law enforcement agencies in a new program called HI-5.

LISD partners with law enforcement for student safety

Mon Mar 5, 2018

 

​In an effort to bolster security across campuses and better ensure safety, Longview ISD is partnering with area law enforcement agencies in a new program called HI-5.

The HI-5 program involves fostering an atmosphere of "community policing" by increasing positive interactions between law enforcement and the LISD community. Participating agencies include Longview Police Department, Gregg County Sheriff's Office, Lakeport Police Department, and the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Longview ISD will be inviting both active as well as retired officers to visit campuses and participate in student activities, in addition to incentivizing volunteerism among off-duty law enforcement.

Dennis Williams, Assistant Superintendent of Administrative and Pupil Services, said some of the goals of the HI-5 program include adding increased visible security while also encouraging strong community bonds between students/staff and law enforcement.

"What better link can citizens have between community policing and safe schools than a school-based law enforcement program rooted in a positive, meaningful school and police collaboration?" he said, adding that officers will read to elementary students, join them during meals in the cafeteria, and be in attendance at various campus events.

Longview ISD currently has Student Resource Officers on multiple campuses, in addition to other Longview Police Officers who assist on the middle and high school campuses. Gregg County Sheriff's Office deputies provide coverage as well.

"We believe our campuses are safe places for our students and staff, at the same time we are always looking for ways to make them safer," Williams said. "The HI-5 program is just another effort to this end."

Longview Police Department officers will spend available time throughout their shifts at the elementary and junior highs schools in their respective areas. This opportunity has also been extended to honorably-retired officers. LPD will also participate in the emergency drills in order to better prepare and familiarize officers with the campuses within the district.

"The law enforcement community, which consists of parents and family members of those in our local schools, understands the concern for the safety of our children," said LPD spokesman Sgt. Shane McCarter. "The Longview Police department will continue to work to build stronger relationships with the children and employees of the local schools. The officers will also benefit from the program by being able to become more familiar with the layout of the buildings."

Gregg County Sheriff’s Office has agreed to help as much as possible at LISD schools outside of the immediate Longview area but still within the county: Johnston-McQueen Elementary, Ned E. Williams Elementary, and Judson Middle School.

Cpl. Josh Tubb, GCSO spokesman, said the agency "applauds the proactive approach this program takes in raising the security at LISD campuses as well as building relations between students and law enforcement."

"The importance of safety and security at our school campuses cannot be overstated," he said. "Every school day, parents in our community drop off the most important thing in their lives, their children. These children walk into a school where hard-working, dedicated teachers pour their hearts into providing these young souls with the knowledge they need to grow into proud, upstanding adults, who one day may be the leaders in our community."

"Gregg County Sheriff’s Office is honored to be a part of the HI-5 program," Tubb added.

Lakeport Police Department has also agreed to offer assistance at the Ned E. Williams campus within the Lakeport community, with officials from the Texas Department of Public Safety agreeing to support LISD campuses as well.

Superintendent Dr. James Wilcox said the HI-5 program is another demonstration of how Longview ISD is "not content to accept the status quo, especially when it comes to the safety of our children."

"Our district is glad to partner with these agencies, and we're always looking for ways to improve how we protect the many precious lives in our care," he said.

For more information about the HI-5 program, please contact Mr. Dennis Williams at (903) 381-2200.