Round Rock ISD Board votes to hire police chief, explore district department
UPDATE: Overnight, the Round Rock ISD school board votes to start discussions on creating a district-wide police department.
The resolution allows RRISD to explore the possibility of a district police department and allows board members to elect a police chief to get that process started.
A controversial resolution is on the agenda at the Round Rock ISD board of trustees meeting. The board will vote on whether to hire a police chief -- a step toward creating a district police department. But opponents are saying not so fast.
This shouldn't have an impact on school resource officers at Round Rock schools when the school years starts in August, but some parents and activists say the district is rushing to create a police department without public input.
When an email from Round Rock ISD Superintendent Steve Flores went out to parents last night Kellyn Bradford was unhappy. "So we're going to hire a chief who has to figure out if he gets a job and at the same time, we're losing teachers? Safety is the number one concern at every parent at every school district, so that's not what the conversation's about," Bradford said.
She is mom to two Round Rock ISD high school students. "It's about the fact that this process needs to be slowed down so that we can insure the safety of our kids," Bradford said.
And she thinks the district is going about creating a district police department too fast.
The resolution in front of the Round Rock ISD board is to hire a police chief, even though there is no department yet.
"Tonight the board will be considering that would create the position of chief of police for a potential future Round Rock ISD police department," said Jenny Lacoste-Caputo,Round Rock ISD spokeswoman.
The district gets school resource officers from Austin Community College, Round Rock PD, and the Williamson County Sheriff's Office, which isn't always easy.
"We know we don't have enough officers at Round Rock PD and Williamson County Sheriff's Office through our school resource officers program to staff our schools," said Lacoste-Caputo.
The superintendent's email says Williamson County had to pull SROs from campuses -- although Sheriff Robert Chody tweeted that it's not true.
Pamela Oldham is a community activist who keeps an eye on the district and says board members only received the resolution last night. "There has been no opportunity given by the district for citizens to become involved," she said.
And Oldham and Bradford hope nothing happens Thursday night.
Round Rock ISD covers several jurisdictions in Williamson and Travis counties, in Round Rock, Cedar Park and Austin, and the district spokeswoman says creating its own jurisdiction would help keep campuses safe.