Eanes ISD board approves forming district police department

The Eanes ISD school board approved forming its own district police department.

The policy, which was approved at the board's June 6 meeting, would also authorize armed peace officers at each of the district's nine campuses.

The district says this aligns with House Bill 3 which mandates at least one armed security officer present during regular school hours at each district campus, including elementary schools. HB 3 has passed the Legislature and now awaits Gov. Greg Abbott's signature.

"There are a number of school districts around us that already have a police department, so we're learning from them, observing their best practices and figuring out what that looks like in our own school district," said Eanes ISD superintendent Dr. Jeff Arnett.

The new department, which will be composed of 15 employees, will work closely with district and school officials, local law enforcement and other stakeholders to create safe surroundings for all students, staff and community.

The district will immediately begin recruiting highly qualified security officers by the beginning of the next school year. The intent is to have a fully commissioned police force in place by early 2024.


Currently, Eanes ISD employs two school resource officers from the Travis County Sheriff's Office and six security staff members, costing approximately $935,000 annually.

"It will eventually replace the two school resource officers that we have at our high school, which is in partnership with Travis County Sheriff's Office," said Dr. Arnett. "So eventually we'll have our own police department and have our own commissioned officers who are employed by the school district."

The anticipated annual personnel cost for the new department is estimated at $1.6 million. HB 3 provides minimal funding to offset these costs.

"So, there are a lot of different sources that will be looking out for the monies. Very little of that is coming from the state. Most of its coming from our operations budget and then some potentially from donations in the community," said Dr. Arnett.

Eanes ISD has nine schools: six elementary, two middle and one high school.

The superintendent says the district needs to hire 11 officers.

"We consider ourselves to be a destination school district. We know that's true for teachers, and we're hopeful that that will be true for police officers as well," he said.

The comprehensive policy approved by the Board also delineates specific training, protocols and procedures in accordance with state law enforcement code and TEA requirements. 

The district says the policy also places a strong emphasis on training related to student mental health, restorative justice and accommodations for intellectually and developmentally disabled students.

The department will assume a broad range of responsibilities, including:

  • Emergency response to incidents on campus
  • Enforcement of District policies and regulations pertaining to safety and disruption
  • Collaboration with school officials and local law enforcement agencies to coordinate security efforts
  • Providing safety education and training to students, faculty and staff
  • Development of positive relationships with students and the community to foster trust and open communication.