Galveston Independent School District is increasing police department staffing, joining several school districts in reviewing security protocols following the May 18 shooting at Santa Fe High School.
Starting next school year, the district’s police department will add three police officers and an extra two security personnel to its staff, Superintendent Kelli Moulton said.
The specific cost of the personnel was not immediately available.
“It’s sort of what the governor has been talking about,” Galveston school district police Chief LeeRoy Amador said. “It’s unfortunate that in today’s society you need a bigger police presence in schools. But we just want to make sure we are more proactive and a deterrent.”
While the district is reviewing school security after a gunman killed 10 and wounded more than a dozen others at Santa Fe High School, the decision to hire more officers has been mulled for about a year and doesn’t bring the staff up to previous highs, Amador said.
“When I started here, there were about 12 commissioned police officers,” Amador said. “That was back in 2004. I think there were six to eight security guards.”
With the additional hires, the staff will consist of eight full-time police officers — including a police chief and a lieutenant — and six security guards, as well as crossing guards, hall monitors and police department office staff, Moulton said.
“In the bigger scope of things — I know everyone is talking about shooters, which have been a concern — but we also deal with sexual offenders, general intruders and many other things,” Amador said. “We are a deterrence to those who want to do harm.”
Galveston is not the only local school district to announce plans to increase school security in recent days.
Santa Fe school district Monday announced it would hire five new police officers and five new security guards to provide added security for the school.
The two districts are the only ones in the county with their own police departments.
A third, Hitchcock, recently announced it would form its own police department because of increased school violence, Superintendent Carla Vickroy said.
Hitchcock’s plan is to hire a police sergeant and two officers and have all three of them patrol district campuses, officials said.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in his proposals to improve school safety said districts should increase the number of armed teachers and other employees through a marshal program.
School districts across the county, including Galveston, Santa Fe and Clear Creek, have also formed safety committees to review protocols in the wake of the shooting.
More changes could be forthcoming as a result of that committee, Amador said.