Tonight, the Tyler ISD Board of Trustees approved the purchase of safety equipment and additional vehicles for the Tyler ISD Police Department.
“As a dad myself, the safety and security of all our children and staff keep me up at night,” Superintendent Dr. Marty Crawford said. “Along with providing the best education for all students, this is a top priority for the district.”
Tyler ISD is committed to ensuring all students and staff are safe and secure. The district is well ahead of state and national efforts regarding the safety and security of students and staff. Several communities across the state have contacted Tyler ISD to learn more about the district’s efforts to meet today’s safety and security needs.
In 2019, the Tyler ISD administration made the decision to be proactive with an enhanced approach toward the safety and security of our students and staff. Dr. Marty Crawford launched his #safeTisd leadership team to focus on school safety. He hired Jeff Millslagle, a retired Special Agent from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as the district’s Director of Safety and Security.
“Our Tyler ISD police force did a great job and continues to do so, but the school safety and security landscape has changed, and I knew we needed someone with this level of experience on our team to accomplish our safety and security goals,” Crawford said.
Millslagle soon secured a $300,000 School Safety and Security Grant for bullet-resistant film, two-way radios, cameras, and perimeter fencing. The district also added two more retired FBI Special Agents to the Safety and Security Team.
Tyler ISD is fortunate to have the third-largest law enforcement agency in Smith County, behind the Smith Co. Sheriff’s Office and the City of Tyler Police. And like those other agencies, All Tyler ISD police officers have completed the Active Shooter Response for School-Based Law Enforcement class, including training beyond the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center (ALERRT) program as a part of our current safety and security standards. The district also conducts annual Safety and Security Audits that the Texas School Safety Center approves.
Staff and substitutes are trained annually on specific District and campus safety procedures, including active shooter training, and mandatory drills are scheduled before the start of the school year. Each campus has a school behavioral threat assessment team that is trained and has reviewed procedures for that campus.
Tyler ISD has expanded its camera system with approximately 2,000 cameras monitoring student and staff safety, including access cameras at all entrances to visitors. Also, our bus camera system was updated this summer, and we’ve improved outdoor lighting at many of our facilities.
“The district takes significant steps to keep safety measures ongoing and year-round,” Millslagle said. “These include assessment of access control procedures, including single access points, locked instruction room doors, visitor check-in procedures, and exterior access points.”
Every year, Tyler ISD reviews its Active Threat Plan, which includes at least one person from the city or county’s emergency management office, Tyler ISD Police, Tyler PD, or Smith County Sheriff’s Office. Also included are other State and Federal agencies, the district superintendent, board president and another trustee, additional district staff, a classroom teacher, and at least two parents/guardians of currently enrolled students.
Plans for the 2022 -2023 school year include hiring more law enforcement officers and supplying more equipment and training for law enforcement officers for active shooter situations. Warning systems will be installed on all exterior doors throughout the district. And there are plans to add more cameras, fencing, and security film at some facilities.
Tyler ISD is also considering the Guardian Program. If approved, the Board of Trustees and Superintendent would be able to authorize specific District employees to have access to certain firearms in schools, at board meetings, and at school-sponsored or school-related events on District property, to the extent allowed by law. Please know that each District employee approved to have access to a firearm on District property will have numerous hours of specialized training in crisis intervention, management of hostage situations, and other topics the Board may determine necessary before they are ever allowed to be a part of any Guardian Program.
“Any implementation of this strategy will be tightly examined and hyper-selective considering deployment location and the availability of personnel. The district sees this as an extra line of defense to ensure the safety of our students and staff and will always first rely on our Tyler ISD Police force and partnerships with local law enforcement agencies,” Crawford said.
With the start of a new school year, Tyler ISD will roll out more health and safety measures, including installing vape detectors, a new app for students to report bully-related activity, send safety tips about school incidents, and access to safety resources during an emergency. The district will also launch an app allowing parents to track their student(s) as they board and exit the buses. These resources and other security and response strategies, gear, and personnel will be implemented under the appropriate district policy as allowable by law.
“Let’s be honest, school safety work is never done, and we are committed to the ongoing effort to address issues that will keep our students and staff safe within our walls so we can focus on successful student outcomes,” Crawford said.
For more information, contact Jennifer Hines at Jennifer.Hines@TylerISD.org.