Law enforcement agencies collaborating to address school safety and juvenile crime

Updated: Jan. 23, 2020 at 6:21 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Law enforcement agencies are teaming up to fight the recent rise of juvenile crime in Lubbock.

Lubbock ISD hosted a joint press conference with the Lubbock Police Department and the Lubbock County District Attorney’s office on Thursday to discuss the collaborative efforts.

Lubbock ISD said this collaboration is a direct response to recent incidents that have raised concerns about safety in schools.

They cited incidents within the schools and out in the community, including the guns brought to Smylie Wilson Middle School and Coronado High School, as well the shooting at Level Nightclub in the Depot District on New Year’s Day.

“The incident that we had on New Year’s Day, one of the individuals that was killed on that day was a 17-year-old,” Mitchell said. “In high school we have 17 and 18-year-olds within the school.”

Lubbock Chief of Police Floyd Mitchell said LPD’s collaboration with Lubbock ISD is meant help identify students who may be involved in criminal activity outside of school and share that information with Lubbock ISD’s police department.

“The name sometimes match up,” Mitchell said.

Lubbock County District Attorney Sunshine Stanek said the increase in violent acts and gun violence among youth in the community can spill over into the schools.

She said the DA’s office is committed to prosecuting cases involving students and school-aged youth to the fullest extent of the law.

“Asking for high bonds on cases where the individuals need to remain in jail and not be facing that eternal door, looking for potential charges for behavior that is adult behavior possibly being committed by youths,” Stanek said.

The superintendent of Lubbock ISD, Dr. Kathy Rollo, said the school district, police department and DA’s office have always had a collaborative relationship, but this is the first time they have all sat down together in the same room.

“I actually asked for that after the last incident that we had," Dr. Rollo said. “I said, can we please just sit down, talk about what we’re already doing, which is a lot, but what can we do in addition to that to help ensure that our schools are safe.”

Dr. Rollo said Lubbock ISD has increased the district’s police activity and extended their partnerships with other local law enforcement agencies.

The district implemented the clear bag policy at Smylie Wilson Middle School this semester. Dr. Rollo said families will be made aware of any other new regulations or protocols they may decide to implement in the future.

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