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Independent school district police enforcement agencies: What are the steps to establish one?

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Posted at 6:39 PM, Aug 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-28 19:50:12-04

CENTRAL TEXAS — The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) sat down with Central Texas News Now to help clarify the intensive process in establishing a police enforcement team for independent school districts.

This deep dive into the process of establishing an ISD police department comes in response to the arrest on Riesel ISD's new Police Chief, Jeffrey McNair, on a warrant charging him with impersonation of a public servant.

"The process for establishing a police department for an ISD is the same as any other law enforcement agency... They first have to be authorized by statute as a type of entity that is eligible to appoint peace officers," explained Gretchen Grigsby, the Media Contact Director at TCOLE.

When Central Texas News Now asked Grigsby if Riesel has any kind of activated entity with TCOLE, Grigsby said, "The Riesel independent school district, from my understanding, is in the application process and has not been created."

Grigsby confirmed that the school district has not yet followed through all the way, but there has been some sort of initiation.

Further explaining the process, Director Grigsby explained, "They would reach out to TCOLE. We have a a lieutenant that specifically oversees the creation process, and they would receive an application from that lieutenant that lines out all the requirements that they're expected to meet."

According to TCOLE, this includes a statutory requirement. It also requires items like ensuring access to communications, meaning dispatch services, and that they've got the proper evidence lock up. They also require a district to have the proper policies in place to make sure that they'll be able to serve their population appropriately.

"Then, they then submit all of that require paperwork to that lieutenant, and then an on site visit is scheduled for the lieutenant or his staff to go out and make sure that everything is in place... Then at that point, the agency would be approved for creation by our executive director and then activated in our data base," said Grigsby.