Frisco ISD is serving up free lunch to area law enforcement in an effort to increase police presence and visibility in schools.
The program, which launched for the 2013-2014 school year, also aims to provide greater opportunity for students to interact with officers and build positive relationships.
In just three months, more than 425 free meals have been provided to local police officers at a cost of approximately $1,300.
“We think it’s a small price to pay when you weigh the benefits of having additional officers in our schools,” said Doug Zambiasi, Frisco ISD Assistant Superintendent of Support Services. “Safety continues to be our top priority as a District, and we’re always looking for new and creative ways to enhance existing security measures.”
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Law enforcement personnel have also been invited to bring and eat their own lunch in FISD cafeterias or parking lots, and to park their vehicles in and around school parking lots to complete paperwork.
“Not only does it provide an additional layer of safety and security for schools, it also gives students the chance to talk to officers and to be their friend,” said Frisco Police Department Sergeant Brad Merritt. “It may be that the only encounter a student has with a police officer is in a negative light. This gives them the opportunity to have a positive experience.”
The program also gives faculty and staff extra peace of mind.
“Just knowing that they’re in the building and walking around, it makes all of us feel a lot safer,” said Bright Elementary Principal Susie Graham.
Reviewing safety efforts and best practices is an ongoing effort. FISD has been piloting an additional security measure that involves remote-controlled panic buttons, which is expected to be included in the 2014 Bond Program.
Current campus safety and health features include:
- Security cameras and double-door, keyless entry systems
- Access control systems screen visitors for entry
- Criminal background checks on all employees, volunteers and contractors who work on District property
- Crisis management plans and teams at each campus
- Regular safety drills and training for staff
- School resource officers on secondary campuses, with middle school officers also responsible for two to three elementary schools
- Radio communication for administrators and staff
- Full-time nurses at each campus
- Hand sanitizers in all classrooms and common areas
- ChooseToCare anonymous online tip-line
- Automated External Defibrillator and portable oxygen units available on each campus
- Crossing guards direct vehicle and pedestrian traffic
Frisco ISD is also home to the S.A.F.E.R. program, a partnership with the City of Frisco gives police, firefighters and emergency responders live access to cameras inside and outside all 56 FISD schools, including those in Plano, McKinney and Little Elm.
Should an emergency occur, first responders have immediate access to campus floor plans, photos, contact information and much more from inside their squad cars, fire trucks and ambulances.