Retired DISD police chief weighs in on Texas school safety bills

When lawmakers convened in Austin this session, Governor Greg Abbott promised making Texas schools safer would be a top priority. That work is underway.

Since the mass shooting at Santa Fe High School outside Houston, state lawmakers have focused on school safety.

Craig Miller just retired from his position as Dallas ISD’s police chief. He believes all schools should have cameras and be difficult to get into.

“There are minimum thresholds that many people in Texas think should be mandated that in all schools do this,” he said.

Miller believes all schools in Texas should have parental notification when there is a campus threat, communication ability from portable buildings to the main office, visitor management and access control.

“But this is a big issue, and it will take a great deal of money,” he said.

On Tuesday, the House Education Committee held hearings on a number of school safety-related bills.

“Inexperienced and ill-trained trained volunteers will be allowed to carry firearms on their person, and that worries me around students,” said Gyl Switzer with Texas Gun Sense.

One proposed bill would allow for retired law enforcement and veterans to volunteer as security on public and charter school campuses.

“We're trained to recognize who the bad guys is, and you don’t shoot through innocent people to get to guilty people,” said C.J. Grisham with Open Carry Texas. “So the best people to do that are our trained veterans and retired police officers.”

Miller thinks the volunteers might be a good idea.

“I think that there is a value to that,” he said. “Obviously, you want to make sure that whoever you get to come on your campus has been vetted psychologically.”

Lawmakers are also looking at allowing school marshals to have their weapons with them rather than locked away.

“And you being at recess outside on the playground or you being in the lunchroom not having access to your gun, that really doesn't make sense,” Miller said.