Rural school districts enlist help of law enforcement

When it comes to school security, the Potter County Sheriff's Office has stepped up and answered the calls of worried parents in Bushland Independent School District and River Road School Independent School District.

Parents have seen the changes happening on their children's school campuses this past year. Schools districts have upgraded their security measures following the tragic increase in school shootings across the country. Potter County Sheriff's Deputy Wallace Jones is a new face on River Road ISD campuses. He serves as the district's new resource officer he helps implement security upgrades.

"All four campuses now have secure doors. You have to have a fob to swipe and then you can get indoors. Any visitor, all the outside doors are locked the only way they can get in is if they come up here to the front of the school. They push the button if they're recognized then the person running that will ask them who they are what's their business and then they come," said Deputy Jones.

Teachers are required to lock their doors and keep them shut, just in case a shooter does make it inside the school. That's something that was not in place a year ago.

"When I come to a campus, I check doors, it's a big deal. I go around and make sure they're shut. I also check classrooms teachers are suppose to have their doors locked and they're suppose to check to see who's knocking to come in," said Deputy Jones.

He said students and teachers are told to never open the door which they practice during lockdown drills. "Years ago we didn't, that was one of those nightmare things that was a small thing that only once and awhile popped up. In fact, all of the deputies in Potter County go through alert training. And they learn how to deal with school shootings and what do we do and how do we approach the scene, how do we get into the building, how do we do all that."

Deputy Jones also drives a marked vehicle which is parked out front of various schools to help deter a would be shooter. Walking around campus, Pronews 7's Lindsey Stiner saw firsthand these security measures working. The only access was through the front doors, which were locked. Deputy Jones and Lindsey also walked the hallways and many of the doors were locked and closed unless it was an empty classroom. Looking ahead, Deputy Jones and Rolling Hills Elementary Principal Richard Kelley said they want to get flip books in the classrooms that detail drills so they're handy for both teachers and students.

"Basically it breaks down our drills and what we do its on a flip chart and hangs in a classroom anybody can relate," said Deputy Jones.

Bushland Independent School District also took similar measures. As Pronews 7 reported last year, they were just in the process of adding a Potter County Deputy on staff as a resource officer and intercom systems.

Pronews 7 asked on our FB page, "Do you feel liaison/resource officers serve a dual purpose on school campuses?" Tell us what you think by clicking here.

Tuesday night Pronews 7 is taking a look at the area's largest school district, Amarillo Independent School District and how their recently passed bond issue is helping in their security upgrade.