The Lubbock Independent School District says miscommunication about a School Resource Officer Program led to confusion, and they say it's the reason LISD Police Officers did not respond to at least two incidents at Estacado High School.
LISD School Board President Gordon Wilkerson tells NewsChannel 11 he knew nothing about that program, and he says it's unacceptable from the board's perspective that LISD officers would not respond to one of their campuses. NewsChannel 11 spoke to Wilkerson over the phone Wednesday night. He tells us that he's been assured that LISD Police are able and willing to serve any campus in the district.
LISD Superintendent Wayne Havens says there's no doubt the district dropped the ball, but he says there will be a greater presence of district police at Estacado. "We should have been in communication, probably a little straighter with our community and parents so they know what's happening and with our school board," Havens said.
Havens addressed concerns Wednesday afternoon, after two phone calls to Lubbock Police Dispatch uncovered a problem with response by the district's police force to Estacado High School. "At no time was that building ever without proper supervision," Havens said.
The first call that generated concern came December 3, 2008 when a Lubbock Police Sergeant called dispatch about a threat at Estacado:
LPD SERGEANT: "Can you make a call for Estacado High School; they've got a threat over there where a student threatened a teacher and LISD does not respond out there, so we need to send one of our units."
LISD DISPATCH: "Good morning, police and safety."
LPD DISPATCH: "Yes ma'am, this is PD. I just got a report from one of our sergeants saying that there's a student threatening a teacher over at Estacado. Do you not respond to Estacado?"
LISD DISPATCH: "No, we'll dispatch it to an LPD Officer."
Nearly two months later, On January 26, 2009, a second call caused more concern when the LISD Dispatcher told LPD they're not allowed at Estacado:
LISD DISPATCHER: "Good morning, police and safety."
LPD DISPATCHER: "One of our city marshals is at Estacado High School. He's requesting an officer to meet him in the front office. He said he's got a possible sexual assault that occurred on campus."
LISD DISPATCH: "This is LISD Police and safety. I gave Mr. Nichols the message, and he said we're not allowed at Estacado, so if you could please send an LPD Officer."
"There's not any doubt we dropped the ball on that issue. Certainly the call over to dispatch area was not what you'd like to have," Havens said.
Havens says Estacado has up to three Lubbock Police Resource Officers on campus at any given time, but he says that never meant LISD Police couldn't respond to the school. "There'll be a greater presence of LISD on the Estacado campus, because I just don't want the perception that that school has not been taken care of, when quite honestly, Estacado has had an officer on campus every day," he said.
Havens says the decision to start the School Resource Officer Program came before the school year started. He says there is no written documentation and says there typically wouldn't be. Wilkerson says he believes the situation has been corrected.