Dallas ISD boosts security, hires more officers

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by JASON WHITELY

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwhitely

WFAA

Posted on January 16, 2013 at 11:16 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 17 at 3:44 AM

DALLAS — School cops and street cops are two very different jobs.

"You have a good day at school?" Sgt. Juan Cedillo asked a student on one Dallas campus.

"Yes sir," the child replied.

For Sgt. Cedillo, being a Dallas ISD policeman is more about mentoring than enforcement.

"Just having a police car out front is a deterrent, in my personal opinion," he added.

Dallas ISD is hiring seven new officers like him, and for the first time ever, it's sending them through its own academy next month.

The school district is still accepting applications for professional police officers with starting pay out of the academy at $39,300.

"We're looking at people who want this as a career," said Dallas ISD police Chief Craig Miller. "We want people who want to be in a school. We're looking for someone who wants to work with kids."

It might be hard for some to believe, but Dallas ISD police dispatchers have never been able to communicate with Dallas police from its headquarters south of Skyline High School. Miller said that will also change next month when the two departments link their two-way radio systems.

But Chief Miller's bigger focus — especially after the Connecticut massacre — is on the district's 152 elementary schools.

"I think that we should look at physical security right now. I think we need to look at hardening the actual schools themselves and make it more difficult for people to get in there," he told News 8.

Just this week, William B. Travis Academy / Vanguard for the Academically Talented and Gifted in Uptown told parents it would begin locking all of its doors as added security.

Chief Miller said district administrators are currently considering security improvements to elementary campuses that he recently recommended.

Some of those changes will be expensive, Miller conceded.

Even with that, there won't be enough cops like Sgt. Cedillo for every campus. But Chief Miller and the district hope other changes will better every student.

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com

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