Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth's schools begin second year with enhanced campus security

North Texas Catholic
(Aug 10, 2023) Local

Cierra Balderas, a school resource officer at St. Joseph Catholic School, escorts students outside to the school's greenhouse on Sept. 29, 2022 in Arlington.

The 4,237 students returning to the 17 Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth Catholic schools will now find enhanced security in place for the second year.

The backbone of the Fort Worth Catholic schools' security program is the School Resource Officers or SROs. Off-duty police officers are contracted through RollKall, which is a platform that allows off-duty officers to sign up for shifts at Fort Worth Catholic diocesan schools to provide security services during the school day.

Mike Short, diocesan director of security, said several officers are returning from last year, so students, families, and staff see familiar faces and can have peace of mind that their students are safe.

“The SRO program is designed to build trust with police officers, act as a deterrent, and provide a rapid response if anything happens. They are on-site to ensure the safety of students and staff,” Short said.

When Fort Worth Catholic School Superintendent Brinton Smith and other diocesan administrators looked at what would improve safety the most, the answer was clear.

Officer Russell, of the White Settlement Police Department, guards the entrance of St. Peter Catholic Classical School on Sept. 21, 2022. (NTC/Juan Guajardo)

Smith said, “The best form of security is for students to have a police officer on campus if anything happens. As much as we appreciate technical security, like cameras and door [access controls], you can’t do any better than having a police officer on campus.”

School and parish security have been a major emphasis within the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth since 2018 when Bishop Michael F. Olson hired Short as a security consultant and later created a security department in 2020 naming Short, a former Lewisville police officer, as director.

Today, the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth school security measures include security film on windows at each of the schools to prevent rapid entry by intruders like experienced in the Nashville elementary school shooting last year; increasing the number of security cameras; and providing access control and other technology to aid in an emergency response. The security program also includes the fencing of school campuses, when feasible. Diocesan school staff continues to receive education on how to handle critical incidents and how to identify at-risk youth early in order to get them the help they need.

"All these things are put in place to protect what is super valuable--our children." Short said.

The Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth school security program is funded through a combination of diocesan funds, grants, and donor gifts. The cost of the school security program is estimated to be $2 million annually.

Cierra Balderas, a school resource officer at St. Joseph Catholic School, walks with a group of students as they head outside to the school's greenhouse on Sept. 29, 2022 in Arlington. (NTC/Juan Guajardo)

Short said the Fort Worth Catholic school's SRO officers also help educate school staff and students about what to watch out for on social media to better protect vulnerable students. In addition, the Catholic schools' SROs assist school faculty and staff with emergency response protocols.

Short said the Diocese has expanded its Guardian Ministry program, which provides screened and trained volunteers for church security, to assist at some school events, especially Nolan Catholic High School sporting events.

“We are working to utilize the Guardian Ministry to assist our schools,” he said. “It’s more eyes and ears to help assist officers.”

Please see what Short has to say about the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth SRO program here: 

Catholic schools within the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth are:

Fort Worth Locations

All Saints

2006 N. Houston St.

PreK - 8th Grade



1400 Hemphill St.

High School


Holy Family

6146 Pershing Ave

PreK - 8th Grade


Nolan Catholic

4501 Bridge Street

9th - 12th Grade


Saint Andrew

3304 Dryden Road

PreK - 8th Grade


Saint George

824 Hudgins St.

PreK - 8th Grade


Saint Peter the Apostle

1201 S. Cherry Lane

PreK - 8th Grade


Saint Rita

712 Weiler Blvd.

PreK - 8th Grade


Arlington Locations

Saint Joseph

2015 SW Green Oaks

PreK - 8th


Saint Maria Goretti

1200 S. Davis Drive

PreK - 8th Grade


Additional Tarrant County Locations

Holy Trinity

3750 William D. Tate, Grapevine

PreK - 8th Grade


Saint Elizabeth Ann, Keller

2016 Willis Lane

PreK - 8th Grade


Saint John the Apostle, North Richland Hills

7421 Glenview Dr.

PreK - 8th Grade

January 29, 2023


North Texas Locations

Immaculate Conception

2301 N. Bonnie Brea St., Denton

PreK - 8th Grade


Sacred Heart

153 E. 6th St. Munster

PreK - 12th Grade


Saint Martin de Porres,

4000 W. University Dr., Prosper

PreK - 8th Grade


Saint Mary

931 N. Weaver St. Gainesville

PreK - 8th Grade

SROs, Mike Short, Diocese of Fort Worth, Press Release, school security, RollKall, off-duty officers, Guardian Ministry, trending-english