Personal experiences help determine the professional role of Klein ISD’s new police chief, Marlon Runnels

SMALL, TX (KTRK) — Policing is personal to Klein ISD’s Marlon Runnels.

“I was about 11 or 12 years old and received word from a Houston police officer that my father had been taken from us,” Runnels explained during an interview with ABC13. “And just the way he showed empathy and compassion towards my brother and I, the professionalism that I saw in that officer that day struck me.”

Runnels, who served in the Marine Corps for nine years, says several circumstances in his life, not all as tragic as the loss of his father, shaped the man we see in uniform. One of those events, the Uvalde school shooting, came just days before he took office as the first black police chief in Klein ISD history.

“It’s really just reinforced my commitment to this work and to my community,” Runnels said. “The responsibility to make sure all 54,000+ children, all 7,000+ employees are aware of our community and our schools are safe places for their children.”

In just over two months on the job, Runnels has not only ensured that every building on all 50 small campuses is safe and secure, but has also helped lead numerous active shooter training sessions. This includes working with local first responders and the FBI.

However, the Houston native is also committed to protecting Klein at home and emphasizes mental health.

“One of the things we’re trying to leverage to keep everyone safe is behavioral threat assessment teams,” Runnels said. “We have designed a framework to help us identify what type of mental health needs our students may have and provide that support as needed. Our officers are also trained in this.”

Because if all children in the district remain a priority for Chief Runnels, his children remain a priority.

“I’m a parent in our district and the police chief,” Runnels pointed out. “So I take this role very, very seriously. I treat every child in our district as if they were my own.”

Some like to separate personal from professional, but not Marlon Runnels. It’s all personal.

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Copyright © 2022 KTRK-TV. All rights reserved. Personal experiences help determine the professional role of Klein ISD’s new police chief, Marlon Runnels

Dais Johnston

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