School district creates own police force

CENTER POINT TX March 12 2018 — He’s still getting used to being called “chief,” but it’s clear that Jimmy Poole is comfortable leading the newly created Center Point Independent School District Police Department.

“I like to talk to kiddos,” said Poole, 62, whose long law enforcement career includes two years as a school resource officer in Kerrville.

He also spent 25 years as a Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission officer and was a Kerr County deputy for five years, ending last November.

He encourages students to call him Officer Poole, saying: “I feel awkward with the title. I’ve never been a chief before.”

Despite Poole’s relaxed outward demeanor, he’s all too aware of the gravity surrounding his new job, especially in the wake of last month’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead.

“In law enforcement, you’re always defensive,” said Poole, whose time behind a badge began in 1977 as a Brazoria County deputy. “I am always in fear of my life and in fear of someone harming others.”

The Center Point rural district moved to establish its own police presence last year after the Kerr County sheriff’s deputy who’d been assigned here part time took a different job and no other deputy immediately wanted the position.

Local school trustees, who authorized district employees several years ago to bring guns on campus if they are kept locked in vehicles, considered arming teachers and/or having no security presence before spending just over $100,000 to establish the district’s Police Department.

“We had to buy everything, from a new Tahoe down to the reflective vest to wear while directing traffic,” Superintendent Cody Newcomb said.

Security problems are rare on the single campus that includes three schools serving 560 students in prekindergarten through 12th grade, but Newcomb noted that without Poole, it could take 20 minutes for help to arrive from Kerrville in an emergency.

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