"The purpose of the Coastal Bend Peace Officers Association shall be to promote the cooperation and understanding of all persons involved  in the enforcement of laws of the State of Texas and of the United States; the continued and convenient interchange of information and training between various Federal, State and local agencies,, and to conduct ourselves in a manner that will gain the respect of those we serve and to constantly strive to improve our position."

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What is a Policeman?

Grace Wilson and Georgia Robinson

It is unclear who the first African American female to become a police officer exactly was, but both Grace Wilson and Georgia Robinson are both pioneers. Some sources report that Robinson was a sworn officer with the LAPD in 1916, while others say she started volunteering that year and officially became a policewoman three years later. For Wilson, it’s said she passed Chicago’s police force exam in 1916; sources vary on whether she officially became a sworn officer in 1916 or 1918.

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Black History Month: Criminal Justice Role Models

Aransas Pass PD Chief Pushes for Teachers to be Armed

Alexander Twilight (1795-1857)

Alexander Lucius Twilight is known as the first African American to graduate with a college degree. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College which he completed in 1823. He was also the first African American to be elected to public office—he served in the state legislature of Vermont, his home state.

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Kirby Brumby

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Goliad County

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Joe Gaitan

San Patricio County

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Lou Villagomez

The Coastal Bend Peace Officers Association formed on November 1, 1966 in the central jury room at the Nueces County Courthouse.  New President Franklin Painter called the meeting to order....

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ARANSAS PASS — The Aransas Pass Independent School District is weighing the option of allowing some employees to be armed at school. 

Aransas Pass police Chief Eric Blanchard proposed the idea — along with other school safety improvements — to trustees during their Wednesday afternoon board meeting.

"All of these teachers here, my wife is a teacher, have said that they would give their life for their students. Why not give them a fighting advantage?" Blanchard asked trustees. "(Allowing teachers to carry a gun is) a privilege that we need to consider the teachers allowing to do. 

The board did not vote on Blanchard's proposal, but some trustees seemed receptive to the idea. Blanchard said he's also concerned about how prepared employees are to respond to an active shooter event. 

“We don’t have a clear plan or procedure for responding to active shooter events," he said, adding the department can provide the training. "We’re still going to provide the training whether the board (allows teachers to carry guns) or not."

Board vice president Edel Deases said the board will move on improving safety overall. 

"We will do something after good planning as a board," Deases said. "I think there is passion there for it and there’s always a need.

"I think I can speak for the board that we will be reacting to this case not just because of what’s going on nationally, but because there is a need and it’s the right thing to do for our citizens and the children."

School premises are gun-free zones, according to state and federal laws. But both state and federal laws also create exceptions and allow school boards to create additional exceptions to that general rule. 

The 2013 approval of the Protection of Texas Children Act gave districts the option to arm and train one school employee, or “school marshal,” for every 400 students. Before the law, the Harrold Independent School District near Wichita Falls pioneered the Guardian Plan, which permitted select teachers and staff to carry concealed weapons.

Texas school districts can choose between two plans — the Guardian Plan and the School Marshal Plan  — to authorize employees to carry a firearm on school property.

Blanchard proposed the Aransas County ISD board implement a modified version of the Guardian Plan. He said district employees who would be Guardians should be nominated by staff, undergo a mental health evaluation, be licensed to carry a firearm and show proficiency in using a firearm by going through the police department's campus carry program. 

On Sunday, Blanchard took to social media to survey the community's thoughts on one question: "If your child's teacher was experienced with a firearm, would you support him or her being armed in school?"

An overwhelming response from the public and local teachers prompted the pitch to the board, he said.  

Graphic videos of the Feb. 14 school massacre in Florida that circulated on social media triggered conversations among students on school safety, Aransas Pass High School student Thomas Ledesma said. 

President of the Aransas Pass High School’s junior class Thomas Ledesma says although safety measures need to improve on campus, allowing teachers to carry a handgun “seems problematic.”

Ledesma, who is president of the junior class, said the premature deaths of youths spurred criticism of Aransas Pass ISD's current safety measures. He took to public comment during Wednesday's board meeting to suggest active shooter drills take place more often and with more direction from school staff. He also suggested backpack checks happen as often and dress code checks and asked that school counselors focus more on mental health than they do on academics. 

"We saw pictures of students running out of the school with dead bodies in the hallway," the 17-year-old said. "We don't want that to be our classmates, we don't want to see our classmates dead."

Although Ledesma hopes the district will consider improving safety standards overall, he thinks arming teachers is taking it a bit far. 

"We would prefer a cop to be carrying, not teachers," Ledesma said. "A teacher seems kind of risky." 

Some teachers and school safety experts oppose allowing guns in schools.

The American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, the nation’s two largest teachers’ organizations, oppose the notion.

Nancy Vera, president of the Corpus Christi AFT chapter, said schools are nurturing environments and are no place for deadly weapons. 

"Having a gun in school is just counterintuitive," Vera said. "A district's money is better spent on improving curriculum and programs, not mental health evaluations (of teachers). This is about teaching and learning, it's not the Wild Wild West."


​Story courtesy of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times

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Macon Allen (1816-1894)

Macon Bolling Allen was the first African American granted a license to practice as a lawyer after passing the bar exam in Maine, 1844. It was hard for Allen to find work people were unwilling to hire a Black lawyer. The next year he moved to Massachusetts and it is said he walked 50 miles to write the bar exam in Boston due to not being able to afford transportation. It is also believed that Allen was the first African American to hold a judicial position, serving as a Justice of the Peace in Massachusetts and later as a judge of the Inferior Court and probate judge in South Carolina.

Sergeant Horatio Julius Homer (1848-1923)

Sgt. Horatio Julius Homer was the first African American police officer with the Boston Police Department when he was sworn in on Christmas Eve in 1878; he was also quite possibly the country’s very first Black police officer. He was promoted to sergeant by 1895 and spent over 40 years on the force. It sounds like he was a natural, as before he was officially in law enforcement, he had rescued passengers while working for the railroad and caught a burglar while working aboard a steamship.

Florida Shooter Appears In Court

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