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Jonesboro ISD to start its own police force

Jonesboro ISD
Posted at 9:21 PM, Apr 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-18 23:16:44-04

JONESBORO, TX  — A small Central Texas school district plans to do something you normally only see in big districts.

The Jonesboro Independent school district wants to start its own police force.

School leaders saw the need, and a lot of parents say, it makes sense.

Margaret Romero doesn't worry too much about sending her son to school every day, but she does sometimes wonder if she can get help quickly in an emergency.

"Because you never know if they can get here, fast on time. Even as us parents, going to work every day, you get that phone call, we have to rush and get out of work and be here," Romero said.

It's concerns like that that have school leaders moving toward creating their own police department.

Superintendent Matt Dossey says the days of just worrying about reading, writing and arithmetic have long gone.

"My belief is, that my number one priority is that every parent's child gets home to them safely, every day,” Dossey said.

So by the time the next school year starts, he aims to have one full-time, and a few part-time officers, on the school payroll.

Dossey says the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement will inspect the school and it's plans later this year. With the hope of having certification, they hope to have officers on the job by the next school year.

Why a police force for a small district like Jonesboro?

Well, when you look at the geography, it makes sense. The community straddles the Coryell-Hamilton County line.

And that, Dossey says, puts fast help a little bit out of reach.

"We're 17 to 20 miles from local law enforcement. Jonesboro's unincorporated, so we don't have a city council, city police or anything like that," Dossey said.

Jonesboro ISD became one of the first in Texas to have armed teachers with concealed carry permits. So, Dossey calls a police department a natural next step.

The officers would have jurisdiction throughout the school district and not just on campus, though Dossey has no plans to replace the Coryell or Hamilton County Sheriff's Departments.

And that gives parents some comfort.

"I'll feel better, if there was a police officer here every day, you know, just keeping an eye on the kids," said Romero.

Because she says, these days, things happen too fast to have to wait for help to arrive almost 20 miles away.