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Jeff Smith, NBC 5 News
In Fort Worth, police-trained volunteers will patrol some schools as part of the Code Blue program.
Students in Fort Worth noticed some big security changes when they arrived for the first day of school Monday.
The second biggest school district in North Texas is using dozens of volunteers to provide an added layer of security.
As parents rushed to give one last hug, and students shed a tear in their parents' arms, James Weatherford was getting his bike ready outside Western Hills Elementary.
Weatherford is one of about 30 volunteers trained this summer at the Police Academy to patrol elementary schools and be on the lookout for unusual behavior.
"I wanted to give back to my community," he said. "I will be on the lookout for things like large coats in the dead of summer, and too many backpacks, that kind of thing."
About 30 volunteers will patrol 10 elementary schools this year as part of a program called Code Blue. Police want these trained volunteers to become familiar with the students and their families, so they know who belongs and who is a visitor.
The pilot program gives Western Hills parents like Lashunda Lewis peace of mind.
"I feel very good about that. It makes you feel more secure that your kids are safe in school," Lewis said. "I know I can be at work and know that my kid is safe at school with someone patrolling the area."
Code Blue volunteers will patrol the perimeters of the schools on mountain bikes, golf carts, in their personal cars and on foot.
"I think it's very important that we have our citizens involved with what's going on around our campuses," said superintendent Walter Dansby, who teamed up with Fort Worth Police Department to create the program.
Fort Worth police are looking for more volunteers willing to become part of the Code Blue Program.
“Our Code Blue people will be very vigilant around our campuses and they’re going to report directly to the police department,” Dansby said.
The time commitment is about three hours a day, three days a week, according to police.