JONESBORO — Seventy, 85, 108, 152 and 329 respectively are the number of property checks, disorderly children, disturbance, theft and alarm calls handled by the school police department so far this year.
Clayton County Public Schools’ new safety and security department has been busy since school started in August, answering such calls that include 35 missing children reports.
However, school police Chief Clarence Cox III said the department is taking steps to further improve communications between law enforcement and the school community by incorporating easily-accessed mobile communications.
Cox said the department made strides in the right direction last week in its response to gang-related activity at schools.
“Some of the recent arrests have been because of the relationships that my people have formed in the schools,” said Cox.
He said school resource officers have been able to identify gang members and make arrests regarding gang-related material found on social media. He said that his officers also were able to have a successful meeting with some parents of suspected gang members.
The department has planned a safety and security forum Thursday at Mundy’s Mill High School, 9652 Fayetteville Road in Jonesboro.
The forum will be an informational meeting, from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m., that will feature topics such as bullying in schools and the school code of conduct.
Juvenile Court Chief Judge Steve Teske is slated to speak. And Cox plans to unveil the district’s new “iWatch Clayton” smartphone application.
The app is a mobile crime watch tool developed by iThinQware Inc. based in Addison, Texas.
Cox said the app, which is also integrated into social media, will allow residents to report criminal activity to the school police department via text and email in text-only and multi-media formats. In turn, the app users will be able to view crime reports and receive alerts from their specific schools and from the school district.
The app, he said, is for adults and students alike as his department plans to field reports of suspected criminal activity and reports of bullying.
He said officiers in the department will be assigned to monitor the incoming reports live.
A link to download the “iWatch Clayton” app is expected to be posted soon at www.clayton.k12.ga.us. Residents also are encouraged to submit tips by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Cox said all tips are confidential.