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Texas district will create its own police force

Feb. 20, 2020
The Del Valle school board says the department will be less costly than paying the county sheriff for police services.

The Del Valle (Texas) School Board has approved the creation of a district police department.

The approval triggers a transition process with the goal of having a district police department in place by the start of the 2020-2021 school year. The district will  submit an application for certification to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement.

Del Valle has about 11,000 students and covers the Southeast area of Austin and other parts of Travis County.

The district says in a news release that the Travis County Sheriff’s Office has promised to support the school system through the transition.

This school year, the district is projected to pay about $953,280 for Travis County Sheriff Office officers to work overtime, summer school and athletic games, and for seven officers to staff the secondary schools on a full-time basis.

Del Valle officials estimate that a district Police Department cost less. Startup costs will total $319,100, and recurring annual costs will total about $654,000.

In the first phase of creating the department, the district will establish formal agreements with the City of Austin, Texas Department of Public Safety, Travis County Sheriff’s Office, and the Travis County Constable Precinct 4.

Beginning in March, the district plans to recruit and hire Texas licensed police officers.

Newly hired officers who have not had Student Resource Office training will take part in a one-week SRO session.

The district hopes to have officers in place by August, The Austin American-Statesman reports.

“It is very achievable and obtainable and very doable,” says Assistant Del Valle High School Principal David Lopez. “It’s going to happen rather quickly.”

Del Valle officials say the new police force will align district policies and procedures with police department actions while continuing the same level of safety at all campuses.

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