Wednesday marked the end of the 2013-14 school year for the Clark County School District, and police were out in full force, ensuring kids got home safely.
“We would like to get a handle on this ahead of time, so that we can maintain the safety and we can keep our violent crimes and our problems with juveniles to a minimum through the three months of summer,” said the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Mike Wallace.
Wallace said fights are the biggest issue on the last day of school.
“One school on the other side of town will get out a little earlier, kids will congregate at that school from another school and try to find people that they have a problem with, retaliate from earlier fights through the year,” Wallace said.
On Wednesday, more than 350 officers from Metro, North Las Vegas and Henderson patrolled around schools across the Valley, making sure students got to and from school safely.
Police officers from Metro’s Saturation Team as well as the Gang Unit also patrolled around schools. This year, for the first time ever, police got help from faith-based organizations as well as Trinity Security.
“We are shorthanded, but we are looking for inventive, out-of-the-box ways to solve the problems and to keep our kids safe,” Wallace said.
“Typically the last day of school, if there is going to be any problems, they’ll be there, the knuckleheads, if you will, if they’re going to act up, they will,” said Walt Walters with Save Our Children.
Walters and dozens of other volunteers helped patrol schools. Walters said keeping kids safe isn’t just Metro’s problem.
“It’s a community problem, and we’re either going to have chaos or we’re going to have community,” he said.
Walters said that other than one small argument, the last day of school ran smoothly. He hopes to help keep students safe well past the last day of school.
“On the side of the [Metro] patrol cars it says ‘Partners with the Community,’ and there has to be a partner, and that’s us,” Walters said.
All grade levels were patrolled, including elementary, middle and high school.