At the August 10 regular meeting, RISD trustees discussed and approved a district recommendation to move forward with hiring 34 campus security officers (and two lead officers) as part of compliance with a new state law (HB 3) requiring armed personnel in every school. The district will continue to provide school resource officers during the school day at all secondary schools and off-duty certified peace officers at seven elementary campuses. Under the plan, RISD will begin the process of hiring, equipping, and training campus security officers for assignment at 34 of the district’s 41 elementary campuses. Under the law, armed campus security officers must possess and maintain a minimum of a Level III security officer license through the Texas Department of Public Safety, which includes firearms training.
The mandate from the state is accompanied by approximately one third of the funding required to comply with the new law. RISD anticipates receiving approximately $825,000 from the state, while the cost of hiring and equipping the security officers is projected to be $2.4 million. District Safety & Security staff recommended the plan of hiring RISD employees to perform the security officer functions instead of contracting with outside vendors to better ensure the quality and training of personnel who will be carrying firearms inside of schools.
“Most public schools districts across the metroplex and state will be seeking a limited pool of candidates with this level of licensure, and we feel it’s critical that RISD be in a position to attract quality candidates that can be trained in our district safety & security protocols and be best prepared to appropriately act in the event of a safety situation,” said Assistant Superintendent of Operations Sandra Hayes. “We know from our police department partners that there are not nearly enough certified off duty police officers available to fill these full time roles across all our elementary schools, and our safety & security team agreed that the next best options are in-house employees whose vetting, training and preparation can be assured, as people who will be carrying loaded firearms inside our schools.”
RISD has posted the positions and is in the process of purchasing equipment. While the deadline for compliance with the new law is September 1, RISD will request a good cause exception in the event not enough qualified candidates can be hired by that time. As campus security officers are hired, RISD will rotate officers daily among multiple campuses until full staffing is reached. In addition, the district will temporarily rotate off duty peace officers among elementary campuses until CSOs can be hired and assigned.
Separate from campus security officers, RISD Safety & Security staff, and if necessary municipal police officers, will continue to provide support and response to any campus safety situations.
Watch the Aug.10 Board meeting here.
Learn more about RISD’s comprehensive safety & security protocols here.