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Urban School Leaders Announce Partnership with Police Leaders

  • In an effort to address the safety of students living in cities, the Council of the Great City Schools has partnered with the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) to launch a task force centered on identifying models for collaboration between local police and urban school districts.

    The task force is composed of school superintendents and police leaders working together to develop and share tools and resources. Over the next six months, the Task Force will meet monthly to discuss the challenges facing the students and communities the two organizations serve and identify approaches that will allow them to improve student safety in urban areas across the country.

    “The leaders of America’s largest urban school districts look forward to joining forces with the nation’s law enforcement professionals in this one-of-a-kind partnership aimed at serving the students and families who live in our urban communities,” said Ray Hart, executive director of the Council. “There are so many areas where schools and police intersect, and we strongly believe that this unique and collaborative effort will start the necessary conversations that ultimately lead to real change and improved outcomes in the lives of the nation’s urban schoolchildren.”

    “Community-based violence as it relates to schoolchildren is an alarming reality that no child should face,” said IACP President Dwight Henninger. “It is our hope that through this partnership and task force that police leaders and school superintendents can work together to address student safety and improve the lives of children in our communities and school systems.”

    The members of the IACP-CGCS Task Force are:

    • Todd Axtell, Chief of Police, St. Paul Police Department
    • Cerelyn (CJ) Davis, Chief of Police, Memphis Police Department
    • Mitchell Davis, Chief of Police, Hazel Crest Police Department
    • Joe Gothard, Superintendent, St. Paul Public Schools
    • Pedro Lopez, Chief of Police, Houston Independent School District
    • John Mina, Sheriff, Orange County Sheriff’s Office
    • Rodolfo Perez, Adjutant to the Chief of Police, Los Angeles School Police Department
    • Leslie Ramirez, Chief of Police, Los Angeles School Police Department
    • Joris Ray, Superintendent, Shelby County Schools
    • Maria Vazquez, Deputy Superintendent, Orange County Public Schools

    In a recent television interview, Houston Police Chief Lopez said the goal of the Task Force was to “identify current challenges our students and communities in urban school environments face and to [come up] with ideas and methods to overcome those challenges.” Lopez also said how important it was to create an environment where students feel safe in school and that districts need to increase bullying prevention programs and invest in social media alerting programs.