The Arlington Police Department wants the first day back to school to be safe for everyone.Safety should be an everyday habit,” said Lt. David Stevens, the APD Youth Services Commander. “We want our students to exercise good safety habits on the first day of school, throughout the year and for the rest of a lifetime.”On Aug. 21, School Resource Officers will have a visible presence on campuses as thousands of students and teachers return to the classroom for a brand new school year. Officers work in partnership with Arlington ISD security personnel to monitor for potential problems and opportunities to ensure an environment of safety.“Pedestrian safety is one of our biggest challenges,” said Sgt. Michael Leonesio. “We’re asking everyone to be extra vigilant in school zones.”Officers are reminding the driving public to slow down, don’t use the phone and try to anticipate what actions a child might take.DWI Officer Stacie Brown welcomed hundreds of teens attending the AISD Back to School Fair at AT&T Stadium on Aug. 12 and reminded them to never drink and drive or get into a vehicle with someone who has been drinking alcohol or is under the influence of drugs.As a new school year approaches, the following lessons apply to safety:
- Avoid becoming a victim of theft. Students are reminded to keep valuable items like cell phones and iPads in a secure location. Never leave electronics in backpacks and purses unattended.
- Slow down in school zones. The speed limit is 20 mph. Motorists are reminded to watch for children walking to and from school.
- Avoid distractions inside the vehicle. It is against state law to text or use the phone while inside of a school zone.
- Drive with care when approaching a school bus. Remember to stop when approaching a school bus with activated flashing red lights.
- Children should avoid walking alone. Tag along with a buddy or a group. Use the crosswalk at intersections.
- If a stranger offers you a ride, say “no” and run away. Tell a trusted adult. Parents are reminded to talk with their children about stranger danger. Get tips at www.missingkids.com.
- Support student safety and achievement in the classroom. Report students who are not in class during regular school hours. Call Crime Stoppers at 817-469-TIPS (8477).
In addition to public safety, officers are also tutoring in after school programs and serving as caring, adult role models. Coach 5-0 is pairing officer mentors with student athletes and the Mentoring Arlington Youth Program for boys is planning a kick off at Workman Junior High School.On the campus, Arlington School Resource Officers will also be working with programs like the High School Citizens Police Academy, Explorers and Hometown Recruiting to help students learn more about policing. Also this year, a new partnership with the Arlington Boys and Girls Clubs. School Resource Officers are expanding their involvement in mentoring with year-round PAL Camp activities at area Boys and Girls Clubs.