Pasadena ISD Bond Election       Tuesday, November 2, 2004

School safety measures
included in bond package

In a continuing effort to provide a safe environment for students and teachers, further safety and security measures on the district's campuses are being proposed as of a $299.88 million bond package Nov. 2.

The safety and security part of the proposal to be placed before voters includes installing security cameras in all of the district's elementary schools, as well as relocating the Police and Technical Services departments to the Pasadena Center, located at the corner of Beltway 8 and Pasadena Boulevard.

"Along with student achievement, student safety is our top priority," said Dr. Rick Schneider, Pasadena ISD superintendent. "We are committed to making our students and staff feel safe and secure."

If approved by voters, the installation of security cameras on elementary campuses will provide for tighter security for students and staff. Several years ago, many main offices were redesigned at the campuses to face the entrances of the schools for safety purposes. Intermediate and high school campuses currently are equipped with video surveillance.

Officials said the relocation of the police department to the Pasadena Center from its current location at the Strawberry Road wing of the school administration building would provide for greater accessibility to schools throughout the district.

"With the proposed location's close proximity to Beltway 8, it would provide us much smoother and more rapid access to campuses on the northern and southern regions of the district," said C.L. Ellis, Pasadena ISD's chief of police.

Assistant Chief Troy Harrison also said the 28-member department has simply outgrown its current location. He noted that more room is needed in the communications and dispatch center. In addition, he said the current offices are running out of room to store items and evidence, along with keeping files.

"In a crisis, several people would need to be working in the dispatch center at the same time," Harrison said. "Our current communications center is in a tight space."

Harrison said the 2,000 square-foot police department offices see frequent traffic, with a growing number of new personnel being fingerprinted. He also said many officers and crossing guards report into the office regularly during the workday.

According to Harrison, the department must also have adequate room to detain juvenile and adults brought into custody. The current facilities can only handle one person at a time, and state law mandates that juvenile and adult suspects must be kept separate from each other. As it stands now, some suspects must be taken to detention facilities at the Pasadena Police Department.

"As the district grows, our department must look to the future as well," Harrison said. "We are always looking for better ways to serve and protect those in our district and the public."

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