School districts working to meet state requirement to get armed officers on every public campus

Texas House Bill 3 requires armed security officer on public school campuses

SAN ANTONIO – Many school districts across San Antonio are scrambling to hire certified officers, with Texas House Bill 3 now in effect.

The bill requires armed security officers on all campuses during regular school hours.

Southwest ISD swore in 13 new officers on Tuesday morning to meet the state requirement.

“This is a really unique job. It’s more of a profession than a job. We were really fortunate to hire some really qualified police officers,” said Richard Palomo, Southwest ISD’s chief of police.

Southwest ISD more than doubled its police force with the addition of the officers. The district will now have a certified armed officer on every one of its 20 campuses.

“We went on a full-court press to hire police officers. It was kind of a challenge because the bill was passed in late June,” said Palomo. “This particular bill was really about getting officers on elementary campuses.”

While Southwest ISD is now compliant with the bill, it’s been more of a challenge to recruit certified officers for the larger school districts.

“The problem for us, as many districts I’m sure will attest, is that we’re all looking for police officers now because of HB 3,” said Barry Perez, Northside ISD spokesperson.

Perez said the board approved 20 additional vacancies after the bill was enacted.

Public school districts also have to fund these new positions.

“I think we are in a much better place than many others because we do have a police department. We have a very extensive, well-resourced police department of approximately 100 officers,” said Perez. “We have 33 vacancies on our police force. We’re committed to active recruiting, committed to active retaining of those individuals.”

In an effort to meet the requirements, North East ISD created 46 safety specialist positions. The district has hired 22 applicants to patrol and monitor school grounds. For Northside, Perez said they are seeking only certified officers at the moment.

“Our goal will always be to try to hire additional officers. However, right now, at this moment in time, there is a huge deficiency in personnel statewide and, of course, the lack of funding,” said Perez.


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About the Authors

RJ Marquez is the traffic anchor/reporter for KSAT’s Good Morning San Antonio. He also fills in as a news anchor and has covered stories from breaking news and Fiesta to Spurs championships and high school sports. RJ started at KSAT in 2010. He is proud to serve our viewers and be a part of the culture and community that makes San Antonio great.

Adam Barraza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12 and an El Paso native. He interned at KVIA, the local ABC affiliate, while still in high school. He then moved to San Antonio and, after earning a degree from San Antonio College and the University of the Incarnate Word, started working in news. He’s also a diehard Dodgers fan and an avid sneakerhead.

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