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WFISD to make school resource officers district employees

Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 10:43 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - An overall decrease in funding has the Wichita Falls ISD making some tough decisions when it comes to balancing next year’s budget.

One of those changes is how they’re going to use their police officers. The district will now have 10 school resource officers instead of 16, giving them a $42,000 savings.

But, making those officers into district employees could bring about a bigger win.

“If one walked in with a backpack, I wouldn’t know if he belonged to this school or if he goes to Old High,” said Lahoma Vaughn, WFISD police chief. “So that’s the whole purpose of having a full resource officer in the school is to know who belongs here, what’s going on.”

With fewer officers on school grounds and maintaining consistent schedules, Chief Vaughn and Superintendent Michael Kuhrt believe this new structure will have a positive impact.

“These will be permanent WFISD employees,” said Kuhrt. “We’re looking at having one on our secondary campuses and then roving police officers to our elementary campuses and I think this is an improvement of what we had. I think students will be able to develop relationships with these officers.”

The change comes following a decrease in the WFISD overall funding this year. Kuhrt feels confident his office can work around the cuts and still keep kids safe.

“I don’t think by decreasing officers that’s going to change at all,” said Kuhrt. “Our administrators handle and our teachers handle their own discipline. They deal with issues. Officers are there whenever a crime is committed and a law is broken, something to that effect, they deal with that.”

The officers’ job is to come to schools to be visible but more importantly to build relationships with the students and hopeful become mentors.

“That relationship and that mentor for the students to connect too,” said Vaughn. “That officer is gonna have that ability to see that Johnny isn’t acting right today.”

Both Kuhrt and Vaughn are certain that with fewer officers, they can close the gap of officer to student interaction and start fresh.

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