AUSTIN – As the new school year begins, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is reminding all Texans – including school staff, parents, students and community members – to download the new iWatchTexas mobile app to help law enforcement protect Texans. DPS is also taking various measures to support local efforts to help enhance the presence of law enforcement in and around schools.
“As the excitement of a new school year builds in Texas, we are asking everyone to also be mindful of some simple but important measures to stay safe,” said Governor Greg Abbott. “Whether at school or in your community, Texans should always be aware of their surroundings. Working together to keep an eye out for suspicious activity, our law enforcement officers and the people of Texas can help keep our state and schools safe.”
At the direction of Governor Abbott, DPS launched the new iWatchTexas mobile app in June to make it easier for the public to report suspicious activity in Texas, including criminal, terroristic or school safety-related threats. The app is free and available for iPhone users on the Apple App Store (iWatchTexas) and for Android users on Google Play (iWatchTexas). Texans can also report suspicious activity online at www.iwatchtx.org or by calling 1-844-643-2251. All reports are confidential. (Providing contact information, which is optional, will allow for additional or clarifying questions.)
“Our top priority at DPS is protecting the people of Texas,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “At the governor’s direction, we are working closely with local law enforcement to support their efforts to bolster safety at Texas schools. We’re also asking members of the public to do their part by downloading the free iWatchTexas app today and reporting suspicious activity they observe. By doing so, Texans can play an important role in preventing tragedies and potentially saving lives.”
Preparations for crime, terrorist attacks and threats to school safety may often be seen but not reported. When in doubt, speak up. Here are some examples of behaviors and activities to report:
The iWatch Texas program is not designed to report emergencies. If a situation requires an emergency response, call 911.
“Students on every campus deserve a safe and secure environment for learning,” said Commissioner of Education Mike Morath. “I commend the efforts of the Texas Department of Public Safety and local law enforcement agencies in working with our school districts statewide to assure students remain safe throughout the school day.”
Following additional direction from Governor Abbott, DPS has also implemented initiatives that focus on working closely with local law enforcement and school officials to increase police presence in and around schools.
These initiatives include but are not limited to identifying opportunities for DPS officers to:
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