LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - By Holley Nees - email
LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Nearly 9,000 Lufkin students are heading back to school. It's also the first day for three men in uniform.
"Before it was just one officer and it was, if you were in one part of the campus, you were most of the time needed on the other side of the campus," said Jay Jost, the ISD police chief.
For more than a decade, Jay Jost was the only campus resource officer at the high school.
Now, he's the chief of the first Lufkin ISD police force.
"The officers are supplied vests and duty belts and weapons and uniforms. It is a police department." said Jost.
Campus violence last year highlighted the need for a force. Incidents like a fight last November, that started at a local church and continued the next day on campus.
"In education, you really don't want to talk about those bad days, but you know, if we do, then I've got three officers that can respond within seconds and that's great," said Lufkin High Principal Mark Smith.
Patrolling the halls are Ray Williams, a former Lufkin police officer and DPS trooper and Dan Lair, a 20-year LPD veteran.
"Teachers and administrators control the classrooms and we're just going to try to pop up places they don't expect us and sooner or later they're going to realize we're going to be here," said Lair.
Jost says there's more than 90 security cameras here at the high school, but having actual officers in the hallways will help make this a safer campus.
"The kids, they say, 'Hey what's up with this? you've got extra,' I said, 'Yeah, we've got six eyes watching you now,'" said Jost.
With more eyes watching Panther Nation, administrators are hoping for a safer school year.
"It just means the world to us in making kids feel comfortable because if they feel comfortable, then how they respond in the classroom and how they act will be better," said Smith.