Board approves creation of Leander ISD Police Department

The Leander ISD Board of Trustees approved a resolution establishing the Leander ISD Police Department. This resolution comes after months of pursuing the safest and most secure option to meet the requirement of placing an armed security officer at each campus, as directed by the passing of House Bill 3 in the 88th Texas Legislature’s regular session.

“The safety and security of our students and staff is the district’s top priority,” said  Gloria Gonzales-Dholakia, president of the LISD Board. “This is an area in which LISD already excels, and I’m confident in the vision set forward, one that keeps culture and relationship-building at the forefront while ensuring a safe and innovative learning environment.”

For the initial phase, the estimated cost is $1.1 million. During the November 30 meeting, the board also approved an amendment to the current 2023–24 budget to provide funding for 10 Single-Role Marshals and administrative positions, including the Chief of Police. 

These actions allow the district to take initial steps in immediately bolstering on-campus security presence with the marshals – in addition to the contracted School Resource Officers (SROs) already in place at each high school through partnerships with the Leander and Cedar Park police departments and the Travis County Sheriff’s Office. 

It will also allow LISD to be able to work toward the application to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) in the months ahead in order to become an authorized police department.

Once the police department is established, LISD can begin hiring its own SROs and moving forward with the long-term vision laid out in the August 24 meeting.

It’s important to note that armed security is only one aspect of this house bill. LISD will continue to maintain current safety protocols in place, including weekly door audits and standard response protocol drills. Additional security projects are in the works, including force-resistant film for ground-level windows and windowed doors, storage function door latches for interior and portable doors, digital mapping of LISD buildings for emergency responders, additional cameras at all levels, and exterior fencing.

This report is part of the Leander ISD Board Briefs posted on December 1.