The Round Rock ISD board of trustees approved a resolution Thursday night to move forward with the consideration of implementing a district police department which may include the hiring of a district chief of police.
The resolution passed with a vote of 5-2 after several comments from community members and discussion among board members. Board members Steve Math and Charles Chadwell voted against the resolution.
According to the resolution, the chief, if hired, would prepare a plan for the implementation of a district police department and submit that plan to the board of trustees for approval. If the board approved that plan, the district would then move forward with a district police department.
Daniel Presley, senior chief of schools and innovation for RRISD, said the hiring process would take several months with a chief potentially being hiring between November and January.
In April, Flores, Round Rock Police Chief Allen Banks and Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody released a joint letter in favor of creating a district police department. Since then, district officials have discussed a possible budget for the department and the transition process.
Daniel Presley, senior chief of schools and innovation for RRISD, said the conversation about a district police department began in March 2017 when Banks notified the district that–due to staffing issues–RRPD could not continue to furnish school resource officers beyond the 2020-21 academic year.
Currently, the district pays SROs from RRPD, WCSO and Austin Community College to cover its campuses. When fully staffed, the district has 23 SROs, but that number changes depending on the availability of officers, Presley said. The total number of SROs is also dependent on department staffing. For example, there is currently an empty SRO position at Grisham Middle School for which WCSO is seeking candidates.
The current SRO program costs RRISD about $2,252,384 per year with salaries and overtime pay for events like sports games. At a May board meeting, Presley presented estimated costs for a three-year phase-in of the department. The estimates include salaries and benefits for a police chief, 24 SROs and a dispatcher as well as one-time costs. By year three, Presley estimated the total cost for the fully staffed department would be $2,254,541, including one-time costs.
On June 20, the day before the resolution was passed, Flores shared a letter addressing concerns about the plans for a police department. You can read that letter here.