AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Amarillo Independent School District said it will be hiring more officers and beginning the process of training and arming school staff.
According to AISD, it will be doubling the size of the District’s police department and will train and arm staff through the Texas School Defender Program.
“Amarillo ISD has been ramping up security efforts since establishing a district police department in 2021. Until now, the district’s current force of six officers along with leveraged support from the Amarillo Police Department with 14 liaison officers, provides security coverage for the entire District,” said AISD officials in a news release.
AISD Police Chief Paul Bourquin said staff will be able to volunteer for the defender training program.
“It will utilize volunteers from our campuses,” said Bourquin. “They’ll go through training with the defender group, Cinco Peso, and they will undergo this training, and then there will be continuous training for the staff members that choose to go through that program.”
Currently, the national response time is around three minutes. With additional officers on campus and trained staff, it will make campus safe for students, faculty and staff.
“Currently, the national average is about three minutes to get law enforcement on scene during an active attack situation,” said Bourquin. “So having someone to fill that gap and stop that threat or hold that threat at bay until law enforcement arrives will be very beneficial.”
The measure was approved by the AISD school board during a meeting on Monday and looks to add an additional eight officers to the AISD Police Department. The measure would also provide funding, training, and support for school staff through the Texas School Defender Program.