With Humble ISD getting underway this month, the Community Response Task Force (C.R.T.F.) heard from Erica Journet, the administrative commander from Humble ISD Police Department. Journet was speaking on behalf of Chief Salomon Cook, who could not appear.
“I just want to let you know that the chief sends his apologies. He had to go out of town unexpectedly. He did not want to cancel so he sent me. Also, before I get started, I want to add one more thing to my introduction. I not only work for the district, I live here. My family has been here for 12 years. We live here, play here, my kids go to Humble ISD schools, and I am very passionate about my job and my community. This is home for me,” Journet said. She then introduced another officer, Sgt. Gregory Letien.
“I am at the Operations Division currently to provide support to the 40 police officers, eight security officers and four others in the division. Operations handles all day-to-day support for the campuses,” Letien said. He summed up his career by explaining he has been with the Humble ISD for 10 years. Before that, he served on active duty in the Air Force for six years. He is a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Like Journet, he lives in the district and has two daughters who attend an Humble ISD elementary school.
“I too, cherish working here and being able to be a part of the community I live in,” Letien said.
Journet’s presentation began with the history of the police and security function as currently structured since 1994. She noted that along with the explosive growth of the district, the district’s police department has grown right along with it.
“At this time, our department consists of about 50 sworn peace officers, five security officers and seven dispatchers. The department personnel patrol all of the campuses on shifts to cover them seven days a week, 24 hours a day, every day of the year. We have about 45,000 students and 6,500 staff in the district,” Journet said, emphasizing the importance of always being on patrol to serve and protect all of the students and staff.
Journet explained the role and importance of the Safe and Secure Schools Division. In that division is the Department of Emergency Management and Safety. This is where the planning for preparedness in the face of emergencies of all kinds takes place. It is responsible for planning everything from hurricanes and floods to terrorist attacks to how to react to nearby explosions of hazardous materials from any source.
“I would be here all day if I tried to describe all that they do,” Journet said.
Journet highlighted what is being done in the schools and changes to police patrol routines and procedures on campus now that school is starting back up.
“Our department has had to modify some things. We have had to change or create new policies and procedures to ensure things are safe. The first thing we did was move and modify work shifts,” Journet said.
The police officers are now all receiving training on how to deal with the public in these unusual situations. Distancing and wearing of masks are of critical importance. The requirement is for all officers to be wearing masks in all public places. Journet emphasized the importance the police department is making of insisting on a hard and fast routine before officers come to work each day.
“Before officers come to work, they have to do a self-evaluation. When they get up in the morning they have to say, ‘Do I feel OK? Am I sick? Is there something that is not normal to me?’ If there is any concern, they know they are not to report to work to risk making anyone else sick and call their supervisor immediately,” Journet said.
She explained that when the officers do come to work they immediately have their temperatures taken, even before roll call. During the roll call, there are signs reminding everyone to maintain social distancing. When they get to their campus, they must wear a mask at all times. They are to remain very visible to the public and to constantly check school doors to ensure they are secure. Anyone in the halls without identification, including students, will be escorted to the front office by a patrol officer.
The C.R.T.F is made up of over 75 partners and members representing all areas of the community, ranging from the local hospitals, police departments, the Houston, Humble and other volunteer fire departments, retail businesses, Humble ISD and the City of Humble. Its mission is to enhance community emergency preparedness and response.
Established in 2005, C.R.T.F. is a networking organization that helps coordinate area volunteer relief efforts in support of critical needs when disasters arise. One of its support activities is to host monthly educational presentations about the various organizations that work and function in the area to explain how they are organized, especially in a disaster. As a result of the COVID-19 situation, these meetings have been moved from the Atascocita fire station auditorium to a meeting room at the Rosewood Funeral Home in Atascocita. In addition. the meetings are now set up to include a Zoom teleconference option in order to encourage and accommodate attendees to safely attend during COVID-19 restrictions. This was the first meeting held in that manner and it was successful.
The public is welcome to attend, especially by Zoom teleconference. Details of the meetings, changes and Zoom access information are maintained on the webpage, crtf.org/calendar.