Manor ISD starts police department, chief search underway

For years, Manor ISD has been contracting with the Travis County Sheriff's Office to help patrol its schools.

“We realized early on that the potential for having an increased number of officers existed if we have our own police force,” said Daniel Vera, assistant superintendent of operations at Manor ISD.

The district is doing just that, creating its own police force. Vera said Travis County deputies did a great job in Manor, but there are many benefits to having police officers who will also be employees of Manor ISD.

RELATED: Manor ISD Board of Trustees votes to create police department for school district

“They might be able to help with students who are tardy to class. They might be able to help us with students who are not as compliant as they should be, but at the same time, they retain their authority as a police officer,” said Vera.

The creation of the force will cost $1.6 million. The money from a $280 million bond will help the district purchase cars and equipment, renovate a building and get things started, but first, they must find a chief. 

“What I really would like to see in a chief, good leadership skills, good communication skills, someone who is visionary,” said Vera.

“What I’d be looking for is someone representing the actual population of the students, someone who has a similar background and upbringing so they can be able to relate to the students,” said Mayor Dr. Larry Wallace Jr.

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The newly elected mayor is excited about this police force because he feels having officers at schools all day can help create positive interactions. When the force was contracted out, there were some concerns.

“Some of the concerns are if something happens and there is a need for a police officer, do they get pulled away from that campus? Now there will a presence there at all times versus having to worry about this agreement of who is spending what money to have the presence in their area. This will all be operated ran and funded by the school district,” said Wallace.

After a community forum on the police chief search Thursday, the district will begin interviews. The Manor ISD police department will have a total of 10 officers.