VISD partners with sheriff's office for school security

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

Sept. 4, 2012 at 4:04 a.m.
Updated Sept. 5, 2012 at 4:05 a.m.

Uniformed officers are a permanent fixture in the halls of Victoria's public schools.

This year, school security at seven of the district's campuses will be covered by the sheriff's office, not the police department, as it has been in the past because of staffing issues, said Chief Deputy Terry Simons.

The deputies will be at district's two high schools, four middle schools and Mitchell Guidance Center.

Potentially, the district could spend more than $500,000 on the agreement, but the expense of having seven officers and a supervisor is one it is willing to cover. The exact amount depends on each officer's salary, which is not to exceed $56,272; the supervisor's salary, which is not to exceed $60,276; and a one-time $50,000 expense for the eight vehicles.

County Judge Don Pozzi said the county will be fully reimbursed for all expenses, including salary and benefits and the additional patrol cars.

"At least initially, this will be at no cost to Victoria County," he said.

Superintendent Robert Jacklich and Sheriff T. Michael O'Connor agreed during a commissioners court meeting Tuesday to the terms of the agreement.

"It's kind of like VISD will have a mini sheriff's office within our school district," Jacklich said.

Jacklich called the school a "$100 million corporation" that is defined by how it handles challenges, including law.

With the new partnership, he said the district "should be able to cover all our bases."

O'Connor called the agreement a "win-win."

It provides the resource officers the school district otherwise would not have, while the agreement gives sheriff's deputies the ability to meet students and families in a non-crisis environment.

Simons said the eight-person staff is a mixture of new hires and inter-office transfers.

"We not decreasing any current enforcement activities," he said.



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