Amarillo ISD Is Getting Its Own Police Force
Here's some numbers for you, as of 2017 Amarillo ISD has 56 campuses across both Randall and Potter County serving a little over 33,000 students. That's a good size district no matter how you look at it. So you figure there's a large security team of dozens of officers across multiple campuses right?
Actually, it's just 2.... yeah... you read that right and they are commissioned out of Randall County. Now this doesn't mean if something happened no-one would come. There are Memorandums Of Understanding (MOU's) with Law Enforcement in both counties and APD even has 13 officers who are specifically trained in working on campuses.
There's a change coming
Earlier this evening the Amarillo School Board voted unanimously to form it's own police department. Now this in itself isn't too unusual, many larger districts have their own here in the Panhandle we don't have to look too far south, Lubbock, Lubbock Cooper, Frenship and Dumas ISD each have their own independent police departments. The district has a good reason for making the move, a separate police agency working across multiple jurisdictions makes for faster campus response. Now it wouldn't change the agreement with Amarillo Police as strategic partnerships are always beneficial.
Superintendent Loomis went on the record locally:
“The world has changed and the laws have changed. We do have a bigger divide in what we can do and what APD can do, That is always a relationship we have to massage because we are always looking out for the rights of our kiddos and we do what we can to make sure we don’t infringe on those rights.”
While student safety is always the first priority in this decision there is always another side. Concerns among some educators in the district and teaching groups revolves around creating a school to prison pipeline.
The next steps for the district include submitting an application with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement which certifies not only officers but policing agencies across the sate.