AUSTIN (KXAN) — In an effort to make sure all Austin Independent School District high school and middle school campuses have school resources officers—even though there is an officer shortage—the district is having some officers work overtime.
Last month, KXAN reported since the start of the 2015-2016 school year, 13 officers have left the department. AISD Chief Eric Mendez says this year has been the worst year for staffing since he started with the department 17 years ago. While there is currently only one vacancy in the district’s police department, Mendez says it is hard to find officers to fill the vacancy.
Starting this month, the district decided to actively promote the officer positions among district employees. If a current district employee is interested in becoming an AISD police officer, they can apply and if they’re chosen, they’ll be sent to Cadet Training Academy in August. The district plans on picking two applicants to go through the academy. Once the cadet candidates graduate and openings for officers are available, the employee can apply for the position. Mendez says 20 district employees have already applied.
The current starting pay in AISD for an officer with zero experience is $45,000 to $46,000 a year. If new hires come in with years of experience, the most they can make starting out is $49,000 a year. After a new officer has been on the force two years, they can move up to the $49,000 a year salary. Any raises after that point come as the school board approves salary increases across the board for all district employees.