AUBREY — The Aubrey Independent School DistrictPolice Department is slated to officially start Oct. 28, according to interimSuperintendent Debby Sanders.
Aubrey will become one of the first schooldistricts in Denton County to create its own police department.
At a special school board meeting Wednesday, theboard officially promoted Jason Massengale, an employee of more than fiveyears, to police chief. Massengale, who has lived in Aubrey since age 5, hasbeen serving as Aubrey ISD’s maintenance director.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “I love working withyoung people, and this is just a way to continue that work.”
The 33-year-old said it’s been a goal of his tocombine his experience in law enforcement with his work for the schooldistrict.
Massengale graduated from the North Central TexasCouncil of Governments Regional Police Academy in Arlington in 2003. FromNovember 2003 to January 2005, he worked with the Oak Point Police Departmentwhere he held police, firefighter and emergency medical service certifications,he said. According to Texas Commission on Law Enforcement documents, prior tojoining the Oak Point police, he served 10 months as a jailer with the DentonCounty Sheriff’s Office.
Two years ago, Massengale reactivated his peaceofficer’s license and was appointed a reserve peace officer with the AubreyPolice Department, a position he said was as an opportunity to add to what hewas doing with the district at keeping students safe. Outside work, he said healso serves as an associate pastor at a church in Aubrey.
Recently, Massengale completed school resourceofficer training. Sanders said Massengale will continue to draw the same salaryhe received as the district’s maintenance director, about $42,400. What willchange, she said, is the number of days he’s employed by the district in acalendar year, from 236 days to 207 days.
Surveys conducted last year showed school safetywas at “forefront of the concern” for parents and local residents, said schoolboard President Ron Bullock. Establishing a police department was the best waythe district felt it could provide “the best safety” for staff and students.Speaking for the board, Bullock said they are excited to have the policedepartment in place.
“I couldn’t be more excited that Jason’s doing it,and I couldn’t be more excited that we got our own police department, noquestion,” Bullock said. “He’s absolutely the right guy for the job, and Ithink that through our due diligence, everything that we’ve done, we’vedetermined that this is absolutely the best way to provide the best safety toour kids and our staff.
“We’re just so happy that it’s come to fruition,and we can’t wait to see it all officially in place.”
The Aubrey ISD Police Department was activatedSept. 16, after completing the application process, according to a TexasCommission on Law Enforcement official. Total startup costs for the departmentwere not immediately available.
Jurisdiction for the department encompasses areasof Aubrey, Krugerville, Cross Roads, Providence Village and Denton County andall property outside district boundaries that is owned, leased, rented or underthe control of Aubrey ISD.
The police department’s office will be insideAubrey High School, according to district officials.
In a separate action Wednesday, the school boardapproved memorandums of understanding between the Aubrey ISD Police Department,Denton County and the cities of Aubrey, Krugerville, Cross Roads and ProvidenceVillage outlining communication and coordinating efforts between the district’spolice department and agencies in overlapping jurisdictions. In anotherseparate action, board members approved a police department policy relating tobenefits in the event of a peace officer’s death.
Sanders said Massengale has a passion for safetyand he’s proven that as a maintenance director. His experience as a peaceofficer makes his new role a good fit and, Sanders said, and she’s envisioninghe will spend time in classrooms to work on bullying, drug prevention and other“proactive things.”
“The kids all know him, they love him,” Sanderssaid. “He’s an Aubrey person, and just by his position in the church also,that’s kind of helped him working with youth. I think it’s just made a good fitfor him.”
Massengale said safety is his No. 1 goal. He saidhe intends to work with teachers and principals on the best course of actionwith any situations they run into with students.
“Keeping the kids safe so that they have a goodeducational experience and they have a positive interaction with lawenforcement, that’s my No. 1 goal,” he said. “This type of law enforcement,there’s a little different mentality. There’s a different approach ... and Ithink it’s really good for the students.
“Our goal is not to put students in the criminaljustice system. Our goal is to work with them and to counsel them and to helpthem have a good education.”
BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 andvia Twitter at @Britney Tabor.