The Southlake Police Department is interviewing candidates for school resource officers who will be stationed at every Carroll school when classes begin in August.In the two weeks since the job was posted, the department received more than 60 applications from as far as Houston and Corpus Christi, and even beyond state lines. The department hopes to make job offers in early June so the officers can be trained and ready to start in all 12 Carroll Independent School District schools on August 26.Southlake Police Chief Steve Mylett said the officers for the two high schools and middle schools will be in-house Southlake PD officers, while the incoming intermediate and elementary school resource officers will be external, experienced new hires.“We're looking for experienced veteran officers,” he said. “Officers that had experience as police officers and also in their years of service have some sort of aspect that touches working with children.”The new officers will work only at their assigned school, and only when school is in session, including time off on holidays and the summer breaks. Most of the targeted officers are retired, or veterans, and because of Texas municipal retirement regulations cannot be from the Southlake Police Department.Mylett said the department is looking for “veteran officers at the ends of their career who aren’t ready to stop working and want to see a different aspect of what we do.”Stacey Black, Southlake Human Resource director, said in a press release that all applicants must have an advanced Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education designation. Advanced is the second highest certification on the ladder.The positions were advertised with a starting salary of $24 an hour. Florence Elementary, which is in Southlake but in the Keller Independent School District, will not have a school resource officer, but Southlake PD who patrol that area will visit the school from time to time.In the past, the department has had three full-time officers who are assigned to Caroll Senior High School, Caroll High School, and one who splits time between the two middle schools. Mylett explained that the two officers will continue their service at the high schools, and the current middle school officer will commit to one, while an in-house officer will be assigned to the other.The department will also have an in-house sergeant oversee the SRO program once the city council approves funding.The Crime Control and Prevention District is a sales tax allotment that uses a portion of sales tax for a fund dedicated to safety initiatives. Most of the funding for the enhanced program comes from the fund, but some of the city’s general fund will go toward the program.Mylett said the proposal for the CCPD funds in this fiscal year won’t exceed $190,000, and should be about $700,000 for a full fiscal year.The expanded SRO program came out of a safety and security task force that featured a cross section of residents, the police department, the City of Southlake, civic groups, faith-based organizations and others. Southlake Mayor John Terrell created the task force to help find a solution to keep schools safe after the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.
Dustin L. Dangli, 817-390-7770 Twitter: @dussssstin