Lake Travis ISD Police Department formalizes communication, coordination with other local police entities

Lake Travis ISD trustees Oct. 20 approved communication standards with other area law enforcement. (Grace Dickens/Community Impact Newspaper)
Lake Travis ISD trustees Oct. 20 approved communication standards with other area law enforcement. (Grace Dickens/Community Impact Newspaper)

Lake Travis ISD trustees Oct. 20 approved communication standards with other area law enforcement. (Grace Dickens/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Lake Travis ISD Police Department will establish communication and coordination with three local police entities following the passage of a mutual aid agreement by the LTISD board of trustees on Oct. 20.

The newly-established LTISD Police Department's jurisdiction spans all territory in the district, plus any land owned, leased or rented by the school. Some of these areas overlap with law enforcement entities serving Bee Cave, Lakeway and Travis County, resulting in the communication standards outlined in the agreements as mandated by law.

“This just formalizes and documents what we would have done anyway,” Chief of Police Andy Michael told Community Impact Newspaper. “All they basically say is, ‘I’ll help you, you help us, and we will work together to solve problems in the community.’"

The police force launched at the beginning of the 2021-22 school year with five officers and Michael, who joined LTISD in 2018 as the safety and security coordinator. Since becoming chief of police, he has handled tasks such as directing the district’s safety and security program, emergency response planning, and officer hiring and training.

"There's always a learning curve when you have a new department or new officers," Michael said. "A lot of people in the community don't really understand that they're real police officers."



In the first two months, officers have dedicated a lot of time to educating students, teachers and parents on what to expect from the police force, Michael said. Original plans to rotate officer assignments across campuses were scrapped in favor of developing deeper community relationships, according to Michael.

"A police department is a police department, but really our focus is early intervention and building relationships with students and staff so that they feel comfortable coming to the officers if they do need something or if they hear something,” Michael said. “I think that's the foundation of a good safety program. It is always a goal to be preventative.”

A short-term goal for the police force is further integration into the community, Michael said. As student enrollment numbers go up and the community grows, Michael said the police department could expand in the future.

The LTISD Police Department was created in December 2020 using funding from a 2018 bond program. Previously, the district contracted Travis County Sheriff’s officers to serve as school resource officers, but LTISD developed their own police force in light of the district’s growth.

Despite having more officers, the cost of the police force remains comparable; the contracted officers from Travis County cost $600,000 annually, while the LTISD police force is around $500,000, plus the initial one-time cost of $400,000 to pay for vehicles, guns and badges.

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