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Argyle to mull safety options

Profile image for By Britney Tabor / Staff Writer
By Britney Tabor / Staff Writer

District board members to discuss ways to hire school resource officer

The Argyle school board will consider approval of a school safety resolution at a specially called meeting tonight.

The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. in the school district board room at 800 Eagle Drive.

Superintendent Telena Wright said the board will consider one of three school safety options: entering into an agreement with the Denton County Sheriff’s Office to hire a school resource officer; entering into an agreement with the Argyle Police Department to hire a school resource officer; or the school district establishing its own police department.

“There are pros and cons to each option, so that’s what we’ll be discussing,” board President Kevin Faciane said.

Faciane said that while it’s not certain, he’s hopeful the board comes to a conclusion tonight so that it can begin moving forward and looking to hire an officer.

According to tonight’s meeting agenda, the board will take action on the resolution after discussion in executive session regarding security.

In May, the school board voted 4-2 to allow Wright to meet with local law enforcement agencies to potentially draft an agreement for hiring a school resource officer. The hiring is subject to board approval.

Wright said an agreement with the county could cost between $80,000 and $90,000.

Projected costs for an agreement with Argyle police, she said, are about the same but would be contingent upon the option being brought before the town of Argyle and town officials agreeing to split costs with the school district.

That has not occurred, she said.

The board also will consider establishing a school district police force. The cost for that could range from $80,000 to $150,000, depending on the salary and experience of the officer hired, the type of patrol vehicle the district potentially would purchase and other supplies such as a radio, Wright said.

That option is being considered, she said, because future development sites for the school district are not all within the Argyle Police Department’s jurisdiction.

“Having our own police department will give jurisdiction throughout the entire district, and it would make the police chief an employee of the district as opposed to being an employee of the Argyle Police Department,” she said.

Last month, the school board unanimously voted to pilot “Not on My Watch,” a safety and security program in which a select number of district staff members are trained for being armed on campus. Faciane has said the board approved the pilot program to evaluate whether it is training the district wants to continue using in the future.

The board could consider either this month or in September amending district policies and developing new ones that would allow district staff and officials to be armed on campus, Wright has said.

The board would select the people who would be armed.

Since December, the district has examined measures for better securing school district facilities.

BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 and via Twitter at @BritneyTabor.