The district’s board of trustees approved agreements Sept. 12 with the cities of Frisco and Plano to provide school resource officers for the 2022-23 school year. The district is also partnering with the city of McKinney for SRO officers, with that contract expected to go to the board at a later date, FISD officials said.
The contract with Frisco provides 35 school resource officers, and the contract with Plano provides two officers, according to meeting documents.
New to this year’s school resource officer program is the increased police presence at elementary schools.
One full-time officer is at each high school and each middle school already. One of these officers would typically also cover two to three elementary schools.
At the Sept. 12 meeting, the contract for the 35 Frisco officers included three additional SROs who will focus solely on elementary schools. The extra patrols and campus visits are intended to provide an additional protective layer during the school day, according to an FISD newsletter.
“All they’re going to do is go from elementary to elementary; they’re going to have conversations with staff; they're going to have conversations with kids,” FISD Chief Operations Officer Scott Warstler said during the meeting. “They may then get in their patrol car and go back to another elementary, but they’re on rotation where every week they are seeing every elementary school multiple times.”
Five total officers will be added to FISD elementary schools, with three in Frisco and the other two in Plano and McKinney. Frisco and the school district split the cost of the city’s officers. However, because FISD approached Plano and McKinney later in their budget cycles, the district will pay 100% of the cost for two of the new elementary school officers in those cities this year, Warstler said. Next year the district and the cities will also split those costs.
“We felt the need was that great,” Warstler said.
SROs are employees of their respective police departments. They focus on the reduction and prevention of crime committed by juveniles and young adults, and they are highly trained to respond in the event of an emergency, according to an FISD news release.
“The safety of our schools in Frisco has always been among our highest priorities,” Frisco Chief of Police David Shilson in the release. “Through our partnership with FISD and being proactive in allocating resources, investing in training and developing technologies to help keep our students safe, we have demonstrated our commitment to school safety. Our school resource officers, along with every officer at our department, take this commitment personally."
Editor's note: The original post has been edited to clarify that this year FISD is paying for the salaries of the two McKinney and Plano officers patrolling the FISD elementary schools in those cities.