Its called Project Safe Start, a child safety program that unites law enforcement with members of the clergy. They’re sent to targeted school campuses throughout the Houston area on the last few days of the school year. Houston Police Assistant Chief John Trevino says the department is using every asset available.
“Mounted patrol, we’re gonna utilize our large command post type vans, we’re standing up a command post at the southeast command station., and so any instances, any situation where we need to move officers around, or ministers, we rely on that command post to get the information. All the patrol area captains have assigned their divisional tactical units, their divisional gang units, and their other support assets that they have, to be part of this effort.”
Project Safe Start began in 1991 when HPD and Houston Ministers Against Crime realized the danger many youth encountered during the last days of school. Reverend Robert Jefferson has been involved with the program since
“It’s not the children on the campus we worry about, but the thugs that have been thrown off the campus that come back on the last day of school, in order to start trouble in the school! But when they know we’re there, they just don’t come and I thank God for that police department, the way it works. If we see a situation that we can’t handle — we try to handle it first — if we can’t handle it, then the policemen come in, and they handle it, and they’re gone.”
This year, he and 300-other ministers will volunteer their time patrolling parking lots and walking school hallways at over 80 schools in seven Houston area districts. Once again, Houston Police Asst Chief John Trevino:
“Everything is based on crime prevention, and when the children in these schools see the ministers walking the hall and they make themselves known, and they announce this, they know that they need to stay ut of trouble, because the ministers are with the police officers, and action will be taken if anything happens.”
In addition to being on the lookout for weapons, drugs and gangs, Trevino says the HISD says will use its real-time security cameras to help keep the peace.