Hutto ISD will expand the its police department with nine new officers to comply with a state law requiring armed school officers at Texas public and charter schools.

What's happening?

HISD trustees moved to approve a measure to expand the department to comply with HB 3, a law requiring armed security guards on all Texas public and charter schools, which will go into effect Sept. 1. HISD police Chief William Edwards previously said the district had a few options to meet this requirement, ranging from simply expanding the police department so an armed officer is on each campus to contracting with third-party services or individuals with the appropriate certifications necessary to carry a firearm on campus.

The staffing increase was approved at an Aug. 24 meeting.

Cost to the district

The total costs associated with adding the new officers, Edwards said, would be around $1.38 million for the first year, accounting for one-time purchases—such as vehicles, individual equipment and psychological evaluations—in addition to ongoing salary costs from adding new full-time employees. Subsequent years would see around $691,295 in recurring costs, he said.

While the state has allocated some funding to offset the burden of costs associated with having an armed security guard on each campus, officials said this is not enough to cover the program in the long term.

What they're saying

Edwards said some districts across the state with more campuses have expressed some difficulty with staffing, but this is not an issue he anticipates in Hutto.

"There's only so many police officers to go around," Edwards said. "We do have a certain appeal here, and we've been very successful thus far in recruiting efforts."