DEL VALLE, Texas — Del Valle Independent School District is officially joining other Central Texas school districts in creating a police department.
According to DVISD's public information department, the school board voted Feb. 18 to create a police department. Five school board members voted for the move, while two others were opposed and one member chose not to vote. One board member was absent from the meeting.
The district said the board approval begins a three-phase process with the goal of having a DVISD police department in place by the start of the 2020-2021 school year. The district will now post a notice of approval and submit an application for certification to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement.
Phase 1, which will go until March 6, will inform the design of the new department and coordinate formal agreements with the City of Austin, Texas Department of Public Safety, Travis County Sheriff's Office and Travis County Constable Precinct 4. Those agreements will be signed on March 6, and DVISD will receive the DVISD Police Safety and Security Department License Agency Number within approximately 30 days after that.
Phase 2 will begin in mid-March and, during that time, DVISD will recruit and hire Texas licensed police officers. Then during Phase 3, which will go from mid-March to May, hired officers who have not had student resource officer (SRO) training will receiving a one-week SRO training, DVISD training on district policies and procedures will take place and DVISD SRO resource manuals and other documents will be created.
According to KVUE's news partners at the Austin American-Statesman, school leaders have been discussing the topic with the school board over the past month. They believe a district police force could help save money while also building positive relationships within the school community.
According to the Statesman, DVISD currently pays $877,000 each year for seven Travis County Sheriff's Office officers. Four of those are stationed at Del Valle High School and one is stationed at each of the three middle schools. Currently, elementary schools don't have school resource officers.
The report states that DVISD administrators hope to save $223,000 each year. These savings would begin during the new department's second year of operation.
The district expects the startup to cost about $319,100, with $309,600 provided by the 2019 bond program and $9,500 coming from local money, the Statesman reported. The district said recurring annual costs will be about $654,000 and this school year, the district will pay about $953,280 for TCSO officers to work overtime, summer school and athletic games and for seven officers to staff the secondary schools on a full-time basis.
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