Students of HISD and across the city of Houston will soon begin to notice an increase of community and law enforcement officials throughout their hallways as the school year comes to an end.
In its twenty-fourth year, Project Safe Start continues to bring together local religious leaders, school district and area law enforcement, and school officials from districts throughout the area for one common goal: to help prevent crime and increase safety as students’ summer vacations begin.
Additional patrol officers are placed in the immediate vicinity of schools and throughout neighborhoods surrounding school campuses to help monitor and decrease any illegal activity during the last few days of the school year.
Vice President of Houston Ministers Against Crime Pastor F.N. Williams II says the program has been successful with no major incidents because of the collaboration of law enforcement agencies and ministers.
“We’re looking forward this year to be a very safe and quiet end of school year,” Williams said.
Volunteers from Houston Ministers Against Crime, Latino Ministers Against Crime and the Police and Clergy Alliance will patrol the halls inside schools throughout HISD, Alief, Fort Bend, and Spring Branch school districts.
“We’re all in charge with raising our children.” HISD Chief of Police Robert Mock. “When it comes to providing a safe environment and extra comfort, mentorship and friendship makes a big difference.”
In addition to patrolling school zones, the Houston Police Department will coordinate a real-time command center to monitor activities of any school disruptions or potential school violence reported by the ministers monitoring in the schools. The command center will also allow for direct communications with area officers in a school’s area so they can respond to an event quickly.
“We started this [program] because our hearts were touched by the violence in our schools,” said F.N. Williams Sr., President of Houston Ministers Against Crime. “When I look around and see us come together, it touches my heart because our children are our greatest investment. If they can’t have safe beginnings, they cannot have a mature life.”