The city of Tomball terminated its school resource officer agreement with Tomball ISD in February with the termination effective March 9.

As such, the 12 city-provided officers that serve TISD as school resource officers are set to rejoin the Tomball Police Department after the 2022-23 school year ends, City Manager David Esquivel said in a March 29 interview.

“We’re going to finish our commitment to the school district so by the end of the school year, that will officially be our total handoff to the [Harris County Precinct 4] Constable’s office,” Esquivel said.

Esquivel also said the funding agreement is still in place, and the district is paying its portion for the SROs.

How we got here

Tomball terminated its SRO agreement with TISD in February, although officers are serving through the end of the current school year. The city claimed SRO negotiations with the district hit a stalemate last fall after TISD expressed it did not want to pay for support staff for the SROs, which includes positions such as a commanding officer and a dispatcher, according to previous reporting.

Following the shooting in Uvalde last May, the city presented the district with a 26-officer plan that would include support staff. Esquivel said costs were never discussed.

“We’d never got to that level of discussion because it was just a conceptual [presentation] about what model do we need to go to—do we go to an officer at each campus or a zone model?” Esquivel said. “Those were the different models we were presenting to the school, and so the discussion to get further into that—we never got to that point.”

Meanwhile, the district said it was exploring other safety and security options and entered into an interlocal agreement with the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s office to add four officers to TISD’s campuses for the current school year. TISD is paying for 100% of the officers for a total of $247,677, Community Impact previously reported.

TISD amended that agreement to add 16 more officers for the 2023-24 school year, which will bring the district total to 20 SROs, Community Impact previously reported.

Next steps

The 12 officers will transition from serving TISD to serving with the Tomball Police Department, with a vacancy available for every officer to move into, Esquivel said.

“We fill all of the spaces that we needed to fill already,” Esquivel said. “So it actually puts us in a very, very good scenario.”

Esquivel said because there are as many vacancies as officers, there will be no effect on the city’s budget.

“While the school district paid a portion of that salary, this city paid the other portion,” Esquivel said. “Once that revenue goes away from that contract, we have open, budgeted positions that they would then fill in. So while we don’t have that revenue coming in, we don’t have that expense either because it’s already budgeted positions that they’re filling.”

The officers also will not need additional training or onboarding prior to joining the Tomball Police Department, Esquivel said.

“[TISD was] getting a fully trained officer that can go either direction, either be a full-time SRO or be on patrol,” Esquivel said. “That’s what we tried to do is make sure that all of our officers—whether they were doing patrol or detective—that they don’t get only that exposure. The idea was to rotate them.”

Esquivel also said the Tomball Police Department will respond if there is an issue or need for mutual aid, and the city is open to SRO discussions in the future.

“If the need ever comes up, we are absolutely open to those discussions,” Esquivel said.