TAYLOR, Texas (KXAN) — When students at Taylor Middle School return to classes next month, there may be an extra layer of security for them.
Administrators at Taylor Independent School District are seeking approval to hire a school resource officer for the middle school.
The Williamson County Commissioners Court will need to approve the plan first. The proposal came before them Tuesday, but they did not commit to anything.
Instead, they said they have more questions for the district on how this would work because it would be the first time for the county to place a deputy as a resource office within a city’s limits.
Superintendent Keith Brown said Taylor ISD currently partners with the Taylor Police Department to provide one resource officer at the high school.
Brown said he approached police about adding another resource officer at the middle school, but Taylor PD could not provide anyone until February 2019 because of a staffing shortage. That’s when Brown went to the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office to see if they had a deputy available.
“I hope it just makes [students] feel safer and also builds a positive relationship with many of our students with law enforcement,” Brown said. “They’ll see them in a positive light on a day-to-day basis.”
If county commissioners approve the plan, the county would pay the resource officer’s salary of $71,762.37 and Taylor ISD would reimburse that cost.
The commissioners will likely take up this issue again at their next meeting on July 24.
Rebecca Gutierrez, whose three daughters are enrolled at Taylor ISD, said she supports the plan to add another resource officer at their school.
“It’s for the safety for our kids and safety for the staff,” Gutierrez said. “Not only that, I think having a police officer there will build a relationship between our students, you know our kids, with the police officers and not for the wrong reasons. They’re there to help and just to keep them safe.”
In light of recent school shootings, many school districts have been looking at ways to improve security on campus. The Round Rock Independent School District, which currently has SROs provided through Williamson County and the Round Rock Police Department, voted this spring to implement its own district police department.