Louise ISD trustees voted to hire a full-time Wharton County Sheriff’s deputy to patrol the district starting this fall.
The unanimous vote came after the trustees discussed the need for police presence five days a week. Currently, one part-time deputy teaches a DARE class and is at the school three days a week.
“There is never a need for police until there is a need for police,” Superintendent Garth Oliver said. “I would rather have them here and not need them than not have them, and something horrific happens.”
The new position will cost the district $70,000. The deputy will be responsible for patrolling all three buildings in the 500 student district.
“We are honored that Louise ISD has decided to ask us to help them in protecting their school,” Wharton County Sheriff Shannon Srubar said. “We believe an officer’s presence makes a school safer, and we look forward to working with staff to make that happen.”
Srubar must present how the Wharton County Sheriff’s Office will conduct the patrols to Commisioners Court for approval.
“We plan on presenting during the next Commissioners Court, but it takes time to get everything in order since we are a police department
outside of the school system,” Srubar said.”This memorandum will help show what our role will be and who we report to.”
Louise ISD participates in Gov. Abbott’s Texas DPS Active Shooter Response Guardian Program.
The guardian program trains and authorizes specific school personnel to possess firearms on school property at school-sponsored events and board meetings.
Louise Elementary Principal Brady Peterson helped Oliver bring the Guardian Program to the district.
“We need a program like this even with an officer here five days a week because it is best to have someone who can respond immediately,” Peterson said. “Having staff at the ready can help the officer save someone’s life.”
The new deputy will be considered a resource officer and will be unable to conduct D.A.R.E. classes, but they will teach safety courses.
The change is about safety and not any one issue, Oliver said.
“This isn’t because of an incident that took place or a pattern of crime,” Oliver said. “I am confident having this police presence, and our guardian participants will make this school better and a safe place to be.”