Austin ISD police to add more officers, motorcycle division

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Dozens of additional officers will be coming to Austin Independent School District campuses and some will be on motorcycles.

AISD Police Chief Wayne Sneed said they need more than 80 officers overall to comply with a new state law.

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“We’re going to be adding over 117 new staff members,” Sneed said. “Those are 84 officers and then the supervisors.”

Sneed said on Friday the district’s police department promoted 16 new supervisors. He said a majority of them were outside hires and some were internal promotions.

“We have about six officers who were previous Austin ISD police officers that decided to come back with us under this new program,” Sneed said. “We’ve got officers that have up to 20 or more years of experience that are coming in.”

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These are the first hires under the new House Bill 3 mandate which requires an armed officer on every school campus.

“It’s a challenge, in and of itself. We’ll do the best that we can to make the progress.”

AISD Chief Wayne Sneed

New motorcycle division

Sneed said now that they’ve filled these positions, they can start hiring school resource officers.

He said some will serve in a new motorcycle division for the district.

“That motorcycle division will be mainly aimed at our elementary schools,” Sneed said. “Our first goal is about 35 motor officers and eventually go to about 60.”

Sneed said they’ll release more information on this in the coming weeks.

‘Essentially an unfunded mandate’

AISD parent Cuitlahuac Guerra-Mojarro said he understands the legislature is putting districts in this position to hire an armed officer at every campus.

“What’s frustrating about the new law is that it’s essentially an unfunded mandate,” Guerra-Mojarro said.

However, Guerra-Mojarro believes money could be spent elsewhere.

“We need the districts that have the resources and the funds to provide mental health services, to provide counseling,” Guerra-Mojarro said. “To provide robust social and emotional learning curriculums.”

Along with counselors, Guerra-Mojarro said he’d like to see money spent on special education services, as well as building infrastructure.

“We’re a huge school district. We have lots of buildings, and a lot of those buildings need repair, need remodeling, need rebuilding,” Guerra-Mojarro said. “So if we could have more money to make schools safer and newer, we would not need as much money to be spent on police officers to patrol those schools.”

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