HOUSTON (CBS Houston) Comprehensive dialogue as well as comprehensive information was shared during the first Town Hall Meeting of the year addressing school safety; the meeting was spearheaded by Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia.
Sheriff Garcia along with a panel of law enforcement officials, community and county representatives and school dignitaries spoke to residents about school safety and what is being implemented county-wide to ensure the well being and safety of children as well as Harris County residents.
The meeting, which took place at the San Jacinto Community College North Campus inside of the Grant Fine Arts Center, offered residents an opportunity to ask questions, address concerns and to come to know practical ways in which their involvement could make a difference when it comes to school safety.
Thursday’s meeting began with remarks from Sheriff Garcia. He thanked the panel of guests as well as the audience for their time and attention to the matter of school safety and referred to children as “our most precious resource.” He also shared with the audience two questions he is asked frequently when it comes to the issue of school safety: 1. “What is law enforcement doing to ensure the safety of residents and children?” and 2. “Do the various sectors of law enforcement talk to one another?” He answered both questions by assuring the audience that communication from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office is done a number of ways including but not limited to messages on social networking sites as well as various Harris County websites that provide accurate and up to date information for citizens.
After a short video titled “RUN. HIDE. FIGHT. Surviving an Active Shooter Event”, was shown,a few of the panelists spoke of their specific duties involving communication of pertinent information to Harris County residents and operations within Harris County that are implemented in the event of an emergency.
Capt. Paul Cordova with the High Risk Operations Unit spoke of his department’s rapid response tactics that are utilized by highly skilled and trained professionals.
Christina Garza, HCSO Media Relations Manager talked about how constant and accurate information is displayed several ways for Harris County residents. Garza stated that residents receive updated and accurate information from the HCSO by way of social networking sites and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office website.
Afterward, the panel listened to questions and concerns from the audience. While one audience member asked how clergy could assist in sending out information to schools, a criminal justice college student asked how he could become more involved in efforts to ensure school safety on his campus and beyond. One panelist urged to “place God back in the schools”, while another one suggested that we be “our brother’s keeper.” The student was encouraged to begin to become active in his neighborhood by forming community watches. He along with the rest of the audience was also then encouraged to download Harris County’s free iwatchharriscounty app to mobile devices.
Panelists also stated that they had a better grasp of the needs of residents and even sheriff Garcia gained a better understanding of the needs of Harris County residents. Listen to what Sheriff Garcia said he took away from Thursday’s meeting below: