Dallas, Texas – In an effort to comply with an imminent state mandate necessitating armed security at every educational institution within the state of Texas, officials from the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) have announced an ambitious strategy to recruit 167 new campus security officers. During a meeting on August 24, the DISD’s Board of Trustees exercised a rarely invoked provision that permits the district to appoint Level 3 security officers as opposed to the state-mandated peace officers or traditional school resource officers.
Dallas Independent School District will hire Level 3 security officers. But what this officers do?
Distinguished by their specialized training and licensure through the Texas Department of Public Safety, Level 3 security officers are authorized to bear firearms. Notwithstanding, their jurisdiction is circumscribed, focusing exclusively on security protocols and emergency response measures, and notably lacking the legal authority to execute arrests.
Stephanie Elizalde, DISD Superintendent, elucidated earlier that the prospective security personnel will undergo an exacting training regimen facilitated by the DISD Police Department. “Our objective is to go beyond mere compliance with the law, ensuring that the individuals in these roles have more than just rudimentary training and the capacity to wield a firearm,” Elizalde stated.
For the initial phase of implementation, slated for the first academic year under the new legislation, the district intends to deploy Level 3 security officers whilst concurrently endeavoring to attract licensed peace officers from external organizations to augment the ranks of the DISD’s police force. Existing DISD law enforcement officials are expected to assume supervisory roles to the greatest extent feasible, as indicated by Superintendent Elizalde.
Despite availing themselves of the exemption, DISD is nonetheless obligated to outline a strategic roadmap, spanning a period of three to five years, delineating the gradual assimilation of armed security personnel into its campuses.
Earlier this month, Dallas ISD publicly said that the district has hard time to hire security officers to meet the House Bill 3 mandate. In an aftermath announcement, Plano ISD unveiled their plans in meeting state’s security requirements joining the list of North Texas school districts facing similar problem. Meanwhile, some school districts are turning to private security companies.
Texas House Bill 3 mandates all schools to have security officers stating September 1
House Bill 3, which was signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott, mandates the presence of an armed security officer on every school campus throughout regular operational hours, effective September 1. The enactment of this legislation has catalyzed widespread consternation among school districts grappling with the logistical and financial hurdles imposed by this robust security mandate—a predicament Superintendent Elizalde characterizes as resulting from “drastic underfunding” by the state government.
This legislative maneuver materialized in the wake of a devastating mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, in 2022, during which 19 students and two educators tragically lost their lives.