September 12, 2022
The Burleson Independent School District (BISD) Board of Trustees approved the hiring of 36-year Fort Worth Police Department (FWPD) veteran Sergeant Richard Morris as the second School Safety Officer (SSO) in the first-of-its-kind program, placing safety and emergency operations employees authorized to carry weapons at all elementary campuses in the district.
Morris is a former Gang Intelligence and Detective Sergeant for the FWPD Tactical Investigations Division who worked closely with the FWPD Homeland Security Intel, criminal tracking, human trafficking, SWAT, Zero Tolerance, homicide, and narcotics units. Morris coordinated gang intelligence and gang detective’s organized crime investigations, working with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, including: the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Homeland Security, military intelligence agencies, as well as county, state, and U.S. Attorney General’s Offices. Morris also served on the DEA Task Force and the Homeland Security Investigations Blue Lightning Task Force, and trained with the U.S. Secret Service in dignitary and executive protection.
As the founder of OPERATION: SAFE CHILD, Morris taught elementary school-age children and parents how to stay safe when children are approached by strangers. The program has been shared with police departments across the country, adopted by the State of Texas, and is still taught today.
“Mr. Morris brings a wealth of experience to BISD from a distinguished career in law enforcement, security, training, martial arts, and more,” said BISD Superintendent Dr. Bret Jimerson. “Mr. Morris is a tremendous addition to our BISD safety team.”
Morris is a 10th-degree black belt in karate and 9th-degree black belt in taekwondo and holds several black belts in other martial arts systems. Morris is a member of the International Karate and Kickboxing Hall of Fame, Karate Masters Hall of Fame, Masters Hall of Fame, USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame, the Museum of Sports Karate Hall of Fame, World Black Belt’s Living Legends, and several more. A current Emergency Medical Technician, Morris most recently served on the North Texas Crime Commission and North Texas Violent Gang task force and continues to advise the FWPD as a veteran member of the Peer Support Team and Critical Incident and Stress Management Team.
“Mr. Brannan told me about the program, and after meeting with Dr. Jimerson and Steve Logan, I think Burleson ISD’s program is going to be the model program to emulate,” said Morris. “I believe this is a calling, and if I can help and be in some part of a model to help other districts across the country, I will. I am honored to be a part of this team, and I am excited to work with Mr. Brannan in developing the program and training the safety officers.”
As the second SSO for the district, Morris will assist the district and SSO Curt Brannan in the hiring of at least eight additional SSOs to serve as professionals authorized to carry weapons who are responsible for providing and maintaining a safe and secure environment for students, staff, and visitors at all elementary campuses.
“We are fortunate to bring Mr. Morris onto our team, as his work experience will provide a wealth of knowledge to us as we begin our School Safety Officer selection process,” said Steve Logan, BISD Chief Operating Officer. “Richard Morris and Curt Brannan are highly qualified law enforcement officers who will assist in building the SSO team and program to help ensure the safety and security of our elementary schools.”
The BISD Board of Trustees approved the SSO program at the August 8 board meeting, and the district’s recruitment efforts began immediately, resulting in a multitude of quality applicants with years of service as peace officers. The district’s first SSO Curt Brannan was hired in late August, and Morris is the second SSO.
For more information, visit the BISD Safety and Security website.