Cherokee County will improve law enforcement in their schools

Deputies will now be required to visit at least one school district in the county during their daily shifts.

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Texas — The countdown for kids to go back to school is upon us, but since the tragedy in Uvalde many school districts are stepping up security measures. One East Texas county is also taking part in ensuring school safety.

Cherokee County Sheriff Brent Dickson sent a letter to all independent school districts within their jurisdiction about stepping up local law enforcement presence.

“Once school starts we’ll be sending a deputy around each school,” Dickson said.

He plans to have each active deputy make a required stop at one school during their shift.

“We’d already had it planned, but with everything in Uvalde we stepped it up and we’re gonna start enforcing it on our deputies,” Dickson said. “It’s something DPS started a couple of years back. It fell off and we’re gonna bring it back for Cherokee County.”

Local school leaders seem to agree and support the plan; even Jacksonville ISD who has a school police department.

“I spoke to him last evening and had a good conversation and we’re very excited for the partnership,” said Bill Avera, Jacksonville ISD Chief of Police. “We have always partnered with the county and the city.”

Avera said it’s always a priority to put students’ safety first, and having an extra hand in ensuring security is helpful.

“Many of them have children that attend our schools, live in the community and so it is not unusual to see various law enforcement agencies stopping to talk to our officers,” Avera said. “Conversing about what’s going on and just basically sharing information.”

In a statement, the New Summerfield ISD superintendent Joe Brannen said he thinks it will benefit his school and others surrounding the area.

“It will allow them to get to know our administration and create some conversations about the safety measures that we have in place,” Brannen said.

Dickson said his deputies want to be more proactive in the community, and local parents seem to be on board as well.

“It seems to be perceived well,” Dickson said. “They want to know that we’re active and we care about their children. We want them to know that we’re here to work for them.”

CBS19 also reached out to Alto and Rusk ISDs.

Alto ISD was not available for comment, but the Rusk school district did said they also received the letter. They plan to schedule a meeting to talk through the details of welcoming the deputies.

Nacogdoches County Sheriff’s Office said they’ve been doing this for a long time.

Rusk County started doing this last year and will continue this semester as well.

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