WYLIE, Texas — When classes begin Thursday, Aug. 10 in Wylie ISD in Collin County, the school district will meet new state-mandated standards for campus security with the help of a private security company: a company now scrambling to fill the requests of other school districts hoping to do the same.
“We’ve been proactive about what we’ve done,” said Wylie ISD Superintendent Dr. David Vinson of the school district’s contract, the first for a North Texas ISD, with L&P Global Security.
Wylie ISD, in previous school years, employed 10 full-time school-resource officers hired from Wylie and Sachse police departments. But that budget provided only enough to cover the high school and junior high campuses, leaving 13 intermediate and elementary campuses without full-time security.
“We have 20 campuses in Wylie,” Vinson said. “Now all of them are going to have armed security.”
As a result of House Bill 3, passed by the Texas Legislature two months ago in response to the school shooting in Uvalde that claimed 21 lives, an armed security presence is required on every campus starting this school year.
“I think it’s a good move and I think it provides another layer of security to our campuses,” said Wylie ISD Director of Safety and Security Brian Kelly.
There are, however, at least two major hurdles: paying for that security and finding enough officers to fill the security positions.
Wylie ISD says that although the state has provided partial funding for the new security officers, that an armed security guard contract of $534,170 for the 2023-24 school year will require the district to find another $222,635 from other General Fund sources.
“I am glad that the Texas Legislature is addressing and taking school safety serious,” Vinson said. “But serious means taking care of it and we need to have it fully funded.”
As for finding the additional officers, that’s where L&P Global Security comes in.
“First of all Wylie was superb. They were so proactive with everything they did,” said Charlies Hollis, the director of operations for L&P Global Security.
Wylie was the first district to seek the private security company’s help. L&P will provide the 13 security officers, and a supervisor, to cover the additional Wylie campuses. Allen ISD will get 17 L&P security personnel too.
Due to the mandated Sept. 1 deadline, L&P finds itself at the center of a last-minute rush. School districts across Texas are contacting them daily, trying to enlist their help.
“Personally, I think the ones we’ve hand-picked are going to be superb,” Hollis said of the ex-military and retired police officers they have hired. “The ones we have I have no doubt are going to be there for the long haul and they are going to be very diligent at their workload.”
“But now we’re able to have that presence on every campus,” Kelly said of the school resources officers, from local police departments and now from private security, that he will help coordinate. “Hopefully, it’s a reassurance to parents that we are doing everything we can to provide a safe environment for the kids to come back to school.”
“With partnerships with our families, with our school resource officers, with our cities, with our state, you know, we’re going to get this done,” said Vinson.