NewsChannel 11 is looking into safety at our local community centers, after Lubbock Police arrest a sex offender wanted for hanging around a center in Bexar County.
Adam Gutierrez, 19, remained in the Lubbock County Jail Wednesday. Police arrested him last week for driving with a revoked license. That's when they discovered Bexar County had a warrant for his arrest.
He allegedly violated his parole by frequenting a community center where children were present. Last December, Gutierrez was charged with indecency with a child for sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl.
Our local community center counselors say they keep a watch on the children and who's around them. If someone is hanging around facilities here, they'll quickly be greeted by a center staff member to find out what their business is.
That's only part of the safety measures local community centers utilize to keep area children safe.
"I have two kids of my own, and I take care of these kids like I take care of mine," Copper-Rawlings Community Center Counselor Alvin Hargers said.
Hargers has been a summer counselor for the past nine years, and he knows it's a big responsibility.
"Parents are trusting us with their kids," Hargers said.
This summer, the center has 80 children involved in summer programs, and keeping that many children safe means being prepared for anything.
"Our safety department provides CPR and first aid training," Nancy Neill from Lubbock Parks & Recreation said.
Counselors do more than protect kids from bumps and bruises, though. They also make sure no one else tries to hurt them.
"We like to greet the folks that come in and find out what their business is. If they're there for the right reason, then of course we are going to welcome them," Neill said.
If they have no business being at the center, "We get into contact with Lubbock Police to let them know that there's people hanging out, and we don't know who they are," Hargers said.
Counselors are also checked out before they even start work. Each has to undergo a background check.
"We try to hire folks that really have a heart for kids," Neill said.
It's a big responsibility, but crews say there are big rewards.
"It is providing something so kids don't have to say home alone, or stay home with brothers or sisters and not have any adult supervision," Neill said.
"I would feel comfortable knowing that there's someone there that cares about them the way I care about my own kids," Hargers said.
To learn more about Lubbock Community Centers and the programs they provide, click here.
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