The Grand Prairie Police Department announced a plan Friday to bolster security by having an officer patrol each of the city's 47 school campuses beginning in January.
While Grand Prairie middle and high schools already have school resource officers patrolling them, department spokesman Lyle Gensler says they'll now have a presence at elementary schools as well.
The decision comes a week after a gunman killed 26 at a Connecticut elementary school, 20 of whom were children.
Gensler said the plan is "an effort to better protect our youngest, most defenseless children in our elementary schools."
According to a release, police higher ups will meet with administrators for each school district in Grand Prairie to "review security plans and make any needed additional recommendations." Patrol officers will meet with officials at each school to better their professional relationship.
These patrol officers will conduct daily walkthroughs of each campus to become familiar with their layouts in order to "effectively respond in an emergency." Officers will also familiarize themselves with each school's schedule and the areas surrounding the campuses.
Gensler also said the resource officers currently posted at middle and high schools will patrol their feeder elementary schools "at least once each school day."
Says his release, "The Grand Prairie Police Department believes these added security measures will better protect our younger school children and provide the highest level of police protection possible."
City Manager Tom Hart said the security plan is in line with the police department's committment to boost community policing by improving relationships with the public.
"Having that officer get out once or twice each day, that ties into neighborhood policing," Hart said. "Our police department works hand-in-hand with our school district, it's a great relationship."
The city and the police department have a joint partnership to pay for the resource officers. Hart said he didn't anticipate any added costs as a result of the expanded security plan.
"I think it's an outstanding program they're doing," Hart said, "but it's not a huge program."