Rural schools in McLennan and Bell counties are adding school resource officers through a partnership with local sheriff departments.
Bosqueville ISD and Academy ISD will be responsible for paying the salary and benefits of the school resource officers, but they will be under the supervision of the sheriff's departments.
Superintendent James Skeeler said the district also considered starting its own police department. However, they ultimately decided working with the McLennan County Sheriff's Office was the best choice.
"They just have more resources and we have always had a good working relationship with them," Skeeler said.
Deputy Wayne Stovall started his position as a school resource deputy in Bosqueville ISD this week. Prior to being hired for that new position, he worked in another role at MCSO.
Stovall with 35 years of law enforcement experience patrols the campuses and works at school zones before and after school.
"I think school safety is a top priority and I want to be part of that and help keep Bosqueville safe," Stovall said.
Skeeler said it's valuable to have law enforcement presence on campus every day and if an emergency occurs.
"If we do have some type of incident, they can help us other than us having to call and wait 10 to 15 minutes. We have someone here on site that can immediately give us any type of help," Skeeler said.
The grandfather of a Bosqueville ISD Elementary student said he is grateful the district added an officer.
"I'm thrilled. Everybody says that won't happen here but it can with the way the world is today," said Larry Volcik. "I think the presence of that officer being here can make people think twice."
Bosqueville ISD will pay $80,000 for this school year for the service, which includes salary and equipment for the officer.
"For the safety of the children and the staff here. I think is money well spent," Volcik said.
In Bell County, Academy ISD plans to add its school resource officer at the beginning of October.
The district signed an agreement with the Bell County Sheriff's Department to make it possible.
"What we call the rural schools are near a city limit somewhere but the cities don't have the resources to help them with a school resource officer," Bell County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Chuck Cox said.
Academy ISD Superintendent Kevin Sprinkles said keeping students and staff safe is a main priority, especially during a time where school violence has been prevalent. The district will pay approximately $61,000 for the position every year.
"AISD believes the SRO will provide the desired protection for district students and staff members, as well as a prompt, effective response to emergency situations." Sprinkles said.
Cox said the person selected was a resource officer at Temple ISD before retiring early.
"We are looking forward with the relationship with Academy and we think it will be a success," Cox said.
West ISD has a partnership with West Police and an agreement with Paladin Security to add armed security officers at West Elementary and West Middle/High School.
Riesel ISD is in the planning stages to add a school resource officer.
Salado ISD plans to add an SRO next school year. However, other districts, such as Rogers ISD, said they could not afford that type of position.
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