The 2021-22 school year will see the creation of Lake Travis ISD's first police department following an initiative from district officials in December.
Since adopting a resolution authorizing Superintendent Paul Norton to begin the process of creating the department, the district has been taking the necessary steps to ensure new officers are on campus by the start of the upcoming school year.
The LTISD board of trustees met March 24 and unanimously approved the purchase of six police vehicles for a total of $271,041, which will be funded by the $253 million 2018 bond program.
The total cost will include the process of outfitting the vehicles, which will be Chevrolet Tahoes, for police use, according to Chief Financial Officer Pam Sanchez.
In December, Norton said the initial one-time cost of developing the department is projected to be under $400,000 with a yearly price tag estimated at a little over half a million dollars. The majority of the development funding would include the cost of vehicles, guns, ammunition and badges, Norton said.
In preparation for the police department, the district will also be required to update its local board policy, according to the district’s general counsel, Amber King.
The policy states employees of the district are not permitted to carry weapons on campus. However, in order to establish a police force, LTISD could amend this policy to permit the possession of firearms on campus solely for officers.
“We need to add one small sentence into that policy that would allow for the use of firearms by the specified employees, meaning the police officers,” King said.
The amended policy was brought to the board for review during the March 24 meeting. Trustees are scheduled to take action regarding the board policy at the April trustees meeting, according to King.
The next steps in the creation of the police department will include the hiring of a chief of police and department training, among other steps.