Chris Van Horne, NBC 5 Fort Worth Reporter
The Fort Worth Independent School District added a new volunteer security program, called Code Blue, to 10 of the district's 84 elementary schools.
The start of school on Monday also marks the beginning of the Fort Worth Independent School District's new security measures at elementary schools.
Fort Worth police's Code Blue Citizens on Patrol program will add an extra layer of security at 10 schools.
The idea is to add another layer or buffer of security to elementary school campuses in the wake of last year's school shooting tragedy in Connecticut. Code Blue volunteers won't be on campus, but they will be watching everything that happens adjacent to campus.
"We're looking for people that look like they don't belong here," said Gerald Huck, Code Blue western division coordinator.
Huck, who has been a member of Code Blue for the last nine years, started a new chapter in his volunteer work this week by patrolling around Western Hills Elementary School.
"I go through the neighborhood also," he said.
Huck hopes his patrols will be a deterrent for anyone looking to cause trouble.
"We're hoping that if there should be a shooter someday, they will not come around if they see a Code Blue person," he said.
Huck says criminals have told police they won't commit crimes where they see Code Blue because they know the volunteers have police radios and training.
FWISD said staff members jumped at the chance to add the volunteers into the security mix when Police Chief Jeffrey Halstead approached them about it earlier this year.
"We do have other layers of security that are on campus, but we do want that protection between the outside world, if you will, and the safe environment of the campus," FWISD spokesman Clint Bond said.
But for now, only 10 of the district's 84 elementary campuses will see Code Blue volunteers in cars, on foot and on bikes.
Fort Worth Police Capt. Linda Stuart, who oversees the program, said the program simply doesn't have enough volunteers for every school at this time.
"We'll probably need at least 700 or 800 volunteers a year; that's quite a bit," she said.
To remedy that, the department has hired a volunteer recruiter to add to Code Blue's ranks. After the announcement of the program earlier this year, more people stepped forward to volunteer but, right now, the department is using neighborhood patrollers to cover schools.
Code Blue has been instrumental in reducing crime in its 21-year history. Stuart said the program is a perfect fit to make schools safer.
"It's all about the kids. That's all I can say about this program -- it's all about the kids," she said.
And while kids may not notice the extra buffer come Monday, the adults say it's important.
"We think it is, and the Fort Worth Police Department sure thinks it is," Huck said.
The district and department hope to expand to all 84 elementary schools by the end of the 2014-15 school year.
For the 2013-14 school year the program will start with the following 10 schools:
As more volunteers are added, the number of schools could expand during this school year, Stuart said.