Meet Southlake Carroll’s newest Dragons

Posted Monday, Aug. 26, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Editor's note: This story has been edited to reflect the correct information

School resource officers are getting ready for the first day of school.

All campuses in the Carroll Independent School District will have an experienced law enforcement officer this year, a change that was implemented by the district to improve student safety after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Conn. last year.

Meet the new kids on campus:

Richard Gallaway

School: Old Union Elementary

Experience: 31 years with the Fort Worth Police Department including 10 years with the SWAT team and 21 as a detective. Worked on the major case and homeland security squads

Why do schools need resource officers?

“First is safety. Another reason is to encourage the kids to make the right decisions. To give them a sense of responsibility for their actions and just to provide assurance to the parents that bad things aren’t going to happen to their kids at school.”

Blas Hernandez

School: Carroll Senior High School

Experience: 4 years with Southlake Police Department including 6 months as a school resource officer.

Why do schools need resource officers?

“You get a lot of 16, 17, 18 year old kids. We all went to high school, we just know how that is. Fights break out, kids start exploring with alcohol and drugs, rebelling against the system as they mature and try to find themselves before they head out to college.”

Frank LaGrassa

School: Walnut Grove Elementary

Experience: 26 years with Fort Worth Police Department, 5 years on Haslett City Council.

Why do schools need resource officers?

“I believe resource officers are important at schools because it creates a safer and better environment. It enhances the learning by reducing stress on kids about bullying and other problems they may have. It serves as an outreach for some kids, someone to talk about problems with and communicate with.”

Art Litke

School: Eubanks Elementary

Experience: 21 years with North Richland Hills Police Department including 14 years as a school resource officer.

* Starts Sept. 3

Was not available to provide response to need for resource officers.

Matthew Petrie

School: Durham Intermediate

Experience: 20 years with Grapevine Police Department, 14 years as a school resource officer in Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District.

Why do schools need resource officers?

“My personal story is that I retired form the Grapevine Police Department 2 years ago after working at one middle school for 14 years. The Sandy Hook, Conn. shooting rekindled the fire in me to want to get back into schools and get back to my community.”

Cory Rattan

School: Dawson Middle

Experience: 4 years with the United States Marines, 3 years with the Southlake Police Department.

Why do schools need resource officers?

“For safety and security in our schools. Obviously the most important thing to us are the kids and their safety. Secondly, we want to bridge the gap between police officers and the kids, and kind of bring them together so they know that they can trust the police.”

Robert Slusser

School: Carroll Elementary School

Experience: Worked with the Texas Department of Public Safety. 11 years with the Marine Corps.

Why do schools need resource officers?

“The main factor is a safety issue. With the way the world of violence is today we need to protect the little kids, and the old ones too.”

Allen Smith

School: Carroll High School

Experience: 17 years with the Southlake Police Department, including 12 years at the current Carroll High School and 3 years at Richland Hills.

Why do schools need resource officers?

“We have the privilege of serving the community in so many ways. Our schools need resource officers for safety and security. We see so many things going on around the country and around the world. But on top of that, we are here to serve our kids, to serve our parents, and to serve our faculty.”

Ken West

School: Rockenbaugh Elementary

25 years with Hurst Police Department including patrol division commander and SWAT commander, 6 years as police chief for Hudson Oaks, 3 years assistant city manager for Lake Worth. Air Force veteran.

Why do schools need resource officers?

“Schools need school resource officers because of all the events we’ve had at schools across the country. I believe that this police department and school district has responded perfectly. Because society is asking too much of our teachers to be protectors and educators of our students.”

Brett Wilson

School: Carroll Middle School

Experience: More than 15 years in public safety with 5 as a 911 dispatcher and 9 with the Southlake Public Department, including 7 years as a school resource officer.

Why do schools need resource officers?

“Most of all for safety and security of the students, staff as well as parents that come into the building. I believe the minors’ voices need to be heard and police officers can give them vital information about different topics from drugs and alcohol awareness to dating safety and suicide prevention.”

Cheryl Womack

School: Johnson Elementary

22 years at Colleyville Police Department with 14 years as a school resource officer in Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District.

Why do schools need resource officers?

“Children need the opportunity to focus on learning in an education setting and not have to worry about safety and security. For me, I believe that we’re going to be protecting and mentoring the most valuable asset anybody can have, which is a child.”

Dustin L. Dangli, 817-390-7770 Twitter: @dustindangli

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