ROUND ROCK, Texas — The Round Rock Independent School District will soon have its own police department after three years of discussion.
During a meeting Thursday night, school leaders voted to officially create the department.
Back in 2017, the Round Rock police chief told the board they could not provide school resource officers past the 2020-21 school year because of staffing demands.
The school district had partnered with the Williamson County Sheriff's Office for decades, but In December, the county's Commissioner Court declined to vote on a motion to extend the partnership.
“Because Round Rock is growing and Williamson County is growing and so there are more needs placed on our law enforcement agencies," explained Round Rock ISD Executive Director of Communication Jenny Lacoste-Capute. "Of course their priority is the entire community.”
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The resolution school leaders voted on Thursday night does not provide funding for the department, but Lacoste-Capute told KVUE they spend about $2 million per year for local law enforcement to patrol their schools and, therefore, shouldn't hurt their budget too much.
Lacoste-Capute said RRISD hopes to have an officer stationed at every middle school and at least two officers at every high school, as well as officers for elementary schools, if needed.
Lacoste-Capute said officers will focus on diversity training to start off.
"We have to strike a balance between keeping our campuses safe and our students and staff safe because, unfortunately, we have seen the headlines when terrible things happen on campuses and we are on high alert for that," explained Lacoste-Capute. "We also don't want our students to feel like they’re in an environment where everything they do is criminalized."
She added there is a difference between student discipline and criminal behavior, so the district wants officers to be trained for that.
Round Rock ISD Superintendent Steve Flores said they could start the search for a police chief on Monday.
The Del Valle Independent School District also voted to make a district police force. The district currently pays the sheriff's office about $870,000 a year to patrol schools.
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