(The Center Square) – Texans are being encouraged to use a free iWatch reporting system to alert local and state law enforcement about suspicious behaviors and activities that appear to be criminal, terroristic or school safety-related.
To educate Texans about the service as children head back to school, the state launched a new public service announcement featuring the actor Chuck Norris, who famously played Walker Texas Ranger on TV.
Texans are encouraged to use the iWatch website, phone app and toll-free number, 844-643-2251, to report suspicious activity or behavior. Reports can be anonymous.
“Whether it’s criminal acts, terror threats or someone wanting to harm children, if you see something, say something and help keep communities in the great state of Texas safe,” Norris says in the PSA published on YouTube.
The ad started running on television and in media markets statewide on Aug. 17.
Texans are encouraged to use the service only for community reporting and to continue to report emergencies by calling 911.
“There is nothing more important than keeping our schools and communities safe,” Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement.
“Parents, teachers, and students deserve to feel safe and secure returning to school this fall, and who better to help spread the message about the iWatchTexas reporting system than ‘Texas Ranger’ Chuck Norris.”
“We ask Texans to utilize iWatchTexas to report nearby suspicious activity to help our law enforcement quickly and effectively respond to any criminal, terroristic, or school safety threats,” he continued.
In June, Abbott directed Texas DPS, the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to expand and accelerate efforts to promote the ability to report suspicious activity known to students, staff and families through the iWatchTexas reporting system.
He’s also taken action to provide resources to support the Uvalde community following the Robb Elementary School shooting.
They include allocating an initial $5 million to establish a long-term Family Resiliency Center in Uvalde County to provide a range of services including access to critical mental health resources and allocating $1.25 million to Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District for trauma-informed counseling, crisis intervention, and community outreach.
It also includes directing the Health and Human Services Commission to ensure all children in Uvalde have access to behavioral health resources and community support.
State lawmakers also have proposed allocating $105.5 million to enhance school safety and mental health services after they convened special legislative committees that developed recommendations on school safety, mental health, social media, police training and firearm safety.
Among other initiatives, the Texas School Safety Center has also begun conducting comprehensive school safety reviews to ensure all Texas public schools are following necessary procedures to maximize school safety.
Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training programs are also being used in school districts to train school-based law enforcement with a range of safety measures.