Local Police Agencies Partner with Nine Schools

New initiative provides police officer mentors for more than 200 students

December 10, 2012

Having a role model can have a significant impact on the academic and social well-being of a child. Sadly, many students at HISD lack a prominent adult figure in their lives. 

Thanks to a partnership with several area law enforcement agencies, more than 200 students at eight middle schools and one elementary school are now paired up with a police officer for mentorship and guidance. The new initiative began this school year with officers from the HISD, Metro, and Houston Police Departments. Campuses involved in the program include Attucks, Cullen, Deady, Jackson, Key, McReynolds, Welch, Sugar Grove Academy, and Peck Elementary.

“This program works hand in hand with our philosophy that we need to engage our community,” said Metro Police Chief Victor Rodriguez. “At the same time, it also allows my officers to have a better understanding of the community they serve.”

Nearly 50 officers were trained earlier this year in student character development and other mentoring skills. Officers meet with an at-risk student for at least 45 minutes, once a week. The goal is to not only to facilitate a better relationship between students and the police, but to provide guidance and support for the children. “We are teaching them important skills like trust, honesty and teamwork, which they can use not only at school but for the rest of their lives,” Rodriguez said.

Police officer mentors from the three departments recently gathered for a special evening to honor their commitment and to provide them with an opportunity to meet the parents of the students they work with. The parent night held at the Hattie Mae Educational Support Center on December 5 also featured a presentation by Dr. Bernard Harris, a former astronaut and founder of the Harris Foundation. Harris commended the officers for doing their part to make a difference in the lives of Houston’s children, and he stressed the importance of education to students and parents.

“I stand before you here today as a man who has walked in space and it is all because of education,” Harris said. “Anything is possible if you have an education.”