Spicewood Elementary School Assistant Principal Tiffany Brantley and students Jase DaGian, Cooper Walters, Elizabeth Sanchez, and Daisy Diane Morrow with Marble Falls Police Officer Chad Curtis, the campus' new school resource officer. Courtesy photo
“The benefits of having an SRO on every campus is significant because not only do they provide a level of security, (they) also are involved in the daily life of each campus,” said Rick Hoover, director of Special Programs for MFISD. “Having this positive influence on our campuses is a huge asset to our community.”
Curtis served as a law enforcement officer in Houston for over 20 years before working as an SRO for the past two years in the Lampasas ISD. He will be at MFISD’s Spicewood campus for nine months out of the year.
“He’s very experienced,” said Marble Falls Police Chief Glenn Hanson, who headed the job hunt for the new officer.
Hanson said the search was “extensive.”
“In this instance, it was not only us that needed to determine whether he was a good fit, but the school district needed to as well,” he said. “It created an extra step in the process.”
Spicewood Elementary was the only traditional MFISD campus without an SRO until Curtis’ hiring.
Texas House Bill 3, which went effect Sept. 1, requires public school districts have an officer on each campus.
“The board of trustees of each school district shall determine the appropriate number of armed security officers for each district campus,” the bill reads. “The board must ensure at least one armed security officer is present during regular school hours at each district campus.”
The post’s unique job requirements made the search more difficult, Hanson said.
“School resource work is something you have to feel led to do,” he said. “It’s not something that you want to draft someone and say ‘There you go, there’s your assignment.’ It’s difficult to find officers, period, but when you add something like that, it makes the pool even smaller.”
Hanson is confident Curtis is the perfect fit for the role.
“We’re very fortunate for Officer Curtis,” he said. “He’s loving it out there and they’re loving him, which is awesome.”
The post will cost the district about $75,000 this year before dropping to around $54,000 in year two.
“We do not take our partnership with MFPD and Granite Shoals PD (which staffs an SRO at Highland Lakes Elementary School) for granted,” Hoover said. “We are extremely fortunate to have positive relationships with all of our first responders, which is not always the case in other communities.”
Unlike other school resource officers employed by the Marble Falls Police Department, Curtis’ position will be fully reimbursed by the school district.
“With our other officers, it’s a partial reimbursement,” Hanson said. “With this officer, it’s a reimbursement for his duties since his duties are strictly for that campus.”
District officials said they remain committed to safe and secure campuses.
“We have historically been on the forefront of ideas that are later adopted by the (state) Legislature regarding safety on our campuses,” Hoover said. “We are always looking at innovative and forward-thinking strategies to maintain the highest level of safety.”