Fort Hood Sentinel
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SATURDAY, JULY 26, 2014  08:09:33 AM

School starts Monday, safety starts now

Email   Print   Share By Heather Graham-Ashley, Sentinel News Editor
August 22, 2013 | News
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In this file photo, children board a bus on the first day of school. Monday marks the beginning of the new school year, and Fort Hood Police are urging safety as children will be walking to and from school. Drivers are urged to obey school zone speed limits and watch for children along roadways.
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Crossing guards in school zones will help ensure children are safe as they head back to school Monday, as well as serve as reminders to drivers.
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In this file photo, parents accompany children on the first day of school. As this school year approaches, police remind parents the installation’s line-of-sight regulation will be enforced for children younger than 10. (Sentinel file photos)
As children head back to school Monday, Fort Hood Police are working to ensure residents and visitors are aware of school zones and safety for Fort Hood youth.

From briefings at Fort Hood Family Housing town hall sessions, to increased patrols around schools and neighborhoods, police have begun their back-to-school safety campaign to ensure drivers are prepared for the increased foot traffic along roadways.

“Making sure drivers are aware kids will be walking to and from school is our No. 1 goal right now,” Fort Hood Police Capt. Jonathan Caylor said. “We need to make sure all residents and patrons of Fort Hood plan their travels to make sure our kids come home safe from school.”

Civilian and military police on the installation have been mimicking school-time conditions to raise awareness.

“We are already increasing patrols near schools and running school zones to encourage drivers to slow down along those areas,” Caylor said.

Drivers also must be aware that although driving while using a cellphone without a hands-free device is forbidden on the installation, talking on a cellphone while driving in a school zone is against Texas state law and carries stiff penalties.

Attentive and lawful driving is the strongest push, but there are other safety measures parents, students and drivers need to follow.

Parents on Fort Hood must follow Fort Hood Regulation 210-48, which covers housing and the installation’s line-of-sight policy for children younger than 10, Caylor said.

Police also urge parents to teach their children to avoid strangers and use the buddy system while walking to and from school.

“Teach your kids that adults should ask for help from adults, not children,” Caylor said. “Let them know that bad people do not always look mean or scary.”

Children should be familiar with their route to and from school and should know their address and phone number as well.

“Know who your child walks to and from school with,” Caylor said. “Make sure your children follow the pre-determined route to and from school with no deviations unless they get parental permission first.”

In case someone other than a parent needs to pick up the child, develop a code word that that person must know. Teach the child not to leave with anyone who does not know the code word, he suggested.

If something looks suspicious, report concerns to law enforcement.

As school begins, the increased police presence will continue in key areas to ensure safety, Caylor added.

“Residents will see an increase in law enforcement, especially in housing and around school zones,” he said.

There also will be an increased presence inside the schools as the 89th Military Police Brigade is in the process of training the new school-based law enforcement officers to be stationed at each of the installation’s schools.

Those officers will begin coordinating programs with the schools in the Comanche housing areas during the first week of school, Caylor said.

“There will be a whole lot more resources available to the schools,” he said.

With the law enforcement assets in and around the schools ensuring safety, police are asking drivers to be aware while driving and asking parents to reinforce safety messages at home.

“The most important thing we can do to protect our children is to communicate and teach them how best to protect themselves,” Caylor said.
 
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