Austin ISD lays out safety plans ahead of first day of school

New Austin ISD police chief Ashley Gonzalez started his job in May and has hit the ground running.

With school starting in just two weeks, he is making sure his safety plans are in place. 

“We have been authorized to hire six additional officers,” said Gonzalez.

Gonzalez says they decided to recruit more after hearing parent input. With the new hires, the force will be staffed at 84 officers.

“Additional officers will help us do a lot more things. We will be assigning one of those as a mental health officer,” said Gonzalez.

Also, preventing school shootings has become a concern for the nation. Gonzalez plans to continue active shooting drills alongside APD and starting this year, they have a new protocol to follow for shootings.

“We are implementing a new emergency response protocol called “I love you guys,’” said Gonzalez.

“It's called ‘I love you guys ‘because the father of a student who was killed in a school shooting was in communication with her and the last text he received was ‘I love you guys,’” said Gonzalez.

The plan provides guidelines for teachers and staff, during an emergency.

“We try to be ready for anything. Times have changed throughout the years. There have been incidents, not only in schools but also in churches,” said Gonzalez.

In addition, Austin ISD will still be keeping an eye on drivers running stop arms. Since they started placing cameras on the buses, they've issued 38,000 citations.

“The numbers are scary, the numbers are there. The number of repeated offenders has decreased a lot. That tells us there is something positive with this technology,” said Kris Hafezizadeh, executive director of transportation and vehicle services.

The district is keeping buses up to par as well. About 40 percent of the regular education buses are equipped with lap shoulder belts.

“Air conditioning, digital cameras, live gps, stop arm cameras,” said Hafezizadeh when describing the current buses.

Keeping students safe is not easy all the time, but district officials say they will do all they possibly can.