The Leander ISD board of trustees has made progress towards building its own police department by adopting a new policy at its Jan. 18 meeting.

The policy provides more details on the department, including police officer authority, training and regulations, and comes as the district is working on an application to create the department with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement.

In November, the board voted to begin forming a district police force in response to a new state law requiring districts to have an armed security officer at every campus.

A closer look

District police officers will have "all the powers, privileges, and immunities of police officers on or off duty within the jurisdiction of the District," the policy states. The chief of police will report to the superintendent in accordance with state law.

Officers will have the authority to:
  • Protect the safety of anyone in the district’s jurisdiction and protect district property
  • Enforce all state, city and county laws and serve search warrants for district-related investigations
  • Arrest suspects, including without warrants for offenses that happen in the officer’s presence
  • Collaborate with officers from other law enforcement agencies
  • Enforce LISD rules, regulations and policies on district property, at district events, in school zones and at bus stops
  • Investigate violations of district rules, regulations and policies at the request of the superintendent, and engage in hearings on violations
  • Carry weapons at the direction of the police chief and approval of the superintendent
  • Fulfill all other duties at the direction of the police chief or superintendent
District police officers will receive at least the minimum training and education required by law, including on the following topics:
  • Child and adolescent development and psychology
  • Positive behavioral interventions and support
  • Mental and behavioral needs of children with special needs or disabilities
  • Mental health crisis intervention
  • Techniques regarding restorative justice, conflict resolution, limiting the use of force and de-escalation
Also of note

The chief of police will develop and implement regulations concerning racial profiling as officers may not take action “based on an individual’s race, ethnicity, or national origin,” according to the policy.

The policy states use of force will only be authorized when reasonable and necessary.

District police officers will wear body cameras, and video equipment we be used in officer vehicles whenever lights are flashing, according to the policy. Parents or students may request access to video recordings in response to disciplinary action.

The district will also provide a form to submit written complaints against officers.

The full police department policy can be found here.

Going forward

The LISD administration will create a policies and procedures manual providing more specifics about the department, Bryan Miller, the LISD executive director of student support, told Community Impact in December.

The district hopes to receive approval to create the department from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement this summer, with the goal of assigning officers to some campuses in the fall, Miller said.