LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - As part of the city’s Community Engagement Task Force, Lubbock officials invited residents to come out tonight and speak their mind.
The turnout was massive, more than 100 community members came to the meeting and talked about all sorts of topics, but their main concern was school safety and the police department.
The task force is an effort of the city to bring together a group of citizens of all backgrounds to have regular discussions about hot button issues in the community.
Citizens who attended voiced their concerns on local schools and said they were worried about closures in the future. Lala Chavez who is a member of the task force and also on the Lubbock ISD board put those worries to rest by saying there would be no school closings just 3 elementary schools that will be consolidated into one.
Chavez says she's glad so many people showed up to speak their mind. "When they are getting a text or email from their son, daughter, child, or grandchild. They’re getting frantic and they might not know what to do because they can’t run to the school and grab their child so we have to be transparent about what we are doing to keep them safe as well as the safety of the employees and the staff."
The other major concerns citizens brought to the table had to do with police. Concerns questioning police recruiting practices, police training, mental health officers, and gun control. Chief Greg Stevens with LPD says this year was a record breaking year. This recruitment round brought in more women and people of color than ever before, and they are working to include more. He also said police are trained to protect the citizens and they will do everything in their power to do that.
As for gun control, the Chief mentioned it is imperative for them to keep guns out of the wrong hands.
The chief also said he is a fan of these task force meetings because they create a two way dialog with citizens . “We can go out and give charts, graphs, and crime trends and tell you what’s going on in your neighborhoods, but the thing is I don’t live in your neighborhood or where we are right now so I do have to listen to the people that live and work in this neighborhood that way I can deliver the service that meets your needs.”
Members of the task force are already planning their next open forum.