EPISD's Police Services Unit (Police Services) operates a police organization with 26 full-time police officers (including seven school resource officers), six dispatchers, one police chief, and one clerical assistant. All 26 full-time officers are certified Texas peace officers licensed by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Education (TCLEOSE).
The mission of Police Services is to "provide services with integrity and dedication, to preserve life, to enforce the law, and work in partnership with EPISD, the City of El Paso, and other law enforcement agencies in order to enhance the quality of education and life in the community." To accomplish this mission and provide for the overall safety of students, teachers, administrators, and other district personnel, Police Services provides the following services:
- Emergency response to situations affecting potential loss of life or serious property damage
- Criminal investigations
- Case preparation and presentation
- Court testimony
- Traffic investigation and traffic control
- Physical security of buildings and grounds
- Dispatch operations and alarm computer operations
Police Services protects more than 120 schools and administrative and operations facilities. Patrols provide security 365 days per year, 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
Exhibit 12-5 presents the organization structure for Police Services.
Exhibit 12-5Source: EPISD Police Services Unit
EPISD Police Services Unit
EPISD's Police Services budget (Exhibit 12-6) rose by 16 percent between fiscal 1997 and 19999. The increase occurred primarily because EPISD hired one additional officer and began paying 100 percent of the salary and benefits for seven school resource officers during the 1997-98 school year. Budgeted expenditures for capital outlays decreased because the Police Services implemented a "lease-purchase" program in which five police vehicles are leased each year for a three-year term, at $6,400 per year per vehicle. As a result, the majority of the Police Services fleet is in good condition.
Exhibit 12-6Source: EPISD.
EPISD Police Services Budgets
Fiscal 1997, 1998, and 1999
Line Item 1996-97 1997-98 1998-99 Percent Incr.
Payroll $577,859 $775,799 $745,468 29% Contracted Services 72,200 78,478 107,800 49% Materials and Supplies 44,209 63,927 40,800 (8%) Other Operating Expenses 0 0 8,850 100% Capital Outlay 95,300 0 15,000 (84%) Totals $789,568 $918,204 $917,918 16%
Exhibit 12-7 presents EPISD's incident statistics for the past three years.
Exhibit 12-7Source: EPISD
EPISD Incident Statistics
1995-96 through 1997-98
Incident 1995-96 1996-97 1997-98 Percent Increase
Burglary 50 120 76 52% Attempted Burglary 3 9 6 100% Theft 136 344 154 13% Criminal Mischief 444 416 151 (66%) Disorderly Conduct 27 61 17 (37%) Graffiti 0 51 81 100% Aggravated Assault 5 17 5 0% Assault 41 106 52 27% Arson 5 8 14 180% Hit and Run 15 53 8 (47%) Poss. Of Alcohol/Controlled Subs. 30 69 25 (17%) Terroristic Threats 6 32 16 167% Traffic Accidents 59 116 54 (8%) Violations of Stud. Code of Conduct * 249 541 238 (4%) Other Incidents** 234 441 224 (4%) Totals 1,304 2,384 1,121 (14%)
* Violations of the Student Code of Conduct include such offenses as possession of communications devices, school policy violations, truancy, criminal trespass, etc.
** Other incidents include items such as breach of computer security, attempted kidnapping,
evading arrest or detention, indecent exposure, knives on school grounds, probation violations, and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
Exhibit 12-7 shows an overall 14 percent decrease in incidents between 1996-96 and 1997-98. The decrease in incidents is primarily attributable to reductions in the number of criminal mischief, violations of the Student Code of Conduct, and other incidents.
In addition to certified peace officers, EPISD has campus security officers, called "campus patrols." Campus patrols are paid for from school budgets and report to principals. The classifications and respective roles of EPISD police and security-related personnel, then, include:
Police Officers - Certified peace officers that patrol all district facilities, respond to incident calls, conduct criminal investigations, and issue traffic citations and citations for Class "C" misdemeanors such as simple assaults and possession of alcohol or marijuana.
School Resource Officers (SROs) - Certified peace officers stationed at middle schools that assist students in dealing with conflicts, resolving problems, handling peer pressure, and avoiding criminal activity. As law enforcement officers, they can take police action related to incidents on or around schools, but are not responsible for security.
Campus Patrols - Security guards hired by principals to manage the security of schools by patrolling the grounds and the school's facilities. Their duties include protecting school property, enforcing school rules and regulations, escorting students to the office who are sent for disciplinary reasons, and monitoring the loading and unloading of buses. Campus patrols also direct traffic around schools during school hours and report evidence of illegal substances consumed, transported, or traded on school property.
EPISD's Police Services Unit consists primarily of retired officers from the El Paso Police Department. Each officer receives the minimum 40 hours of training required to maintain TCLEOSE certification. Because all EPISD police officers are TCLEOSE-certified peace officers, the board recently authorized them to issue citations for Class "C" misdemeanors such as simple assaults and possession of alcohol or marijuana. EPISD officers familiar with district facilities and student behavior can issue citations and make arrests with minimal disruption to daily school activities. When arrests are made, students are processed at either El Paso County or El Paso City juvenile detention facilities in cooperation with local law enforcement officials. EPISD police officers call and notify school administrators and parents as to where the students are taken.
EPISD's Police Services Unit consists of certified police officers, skilled in all areas of law enforcement, who are authorized to issue citations for Class "C" misdemeanors.
EPISD has formed a Police/Schools Safety Committee to improve overall communications between EPPD and the district, make better use of resources available through EPPD, and to provide EPISD schools with a better understanding of how the EPISD works and communicates with school administrators and the district. The committee meets monthly and consists of representatives from the school board, regional associate superintendents, high school principals, alternative school principals, citizens, the EPISD police chief, and representatives from EPPD.
EPISD benefits from this relationship by sharing information about general safety and security issues with seasoned professionals. School-based, regional, and central administrators maintain a continuing dialogue with EPPD, the district's Police Services Unit, and community members to continuously improve safety within the district. Moreover, the committee provides a "think tank" for developing model safety and security strategies through the exchange of ideas among a diverse group of people.
EPISD and the El Paso Police Department regularly meet to exchange ideas for improving safety and security in the district.
In October 1997, EPISD's school board approved the implementation of a canine (K-9) program as a deterrent to alcohol, drugs, and weapons possession and use. Southwest Drug Education and Deterrent Service, Inc. (SDEDS) was contracted to provide K-9 units to search campuses during the 1997-98 school year for $79,931. The K-9 units, consisting of a dog and a dog handler, performed random searches at nine high schools, 11 middle schools, and four elementary schools. Schools are randomly selected and visits are unscheduled, although SDEDS is required to ask principals for permission before searching school grounds.
During school searches, dogs are allowed to sniff only lockers and vehicles-not students. The dogs sniff for various drugs and other contraband including marijuana, cocaine, LSD, Rohypnol, gunpowder, hashish oil, heroin, and crack. During the 1997-98 school year, K-9 units conducted 294 unscheduled elementary and middle schools visits and 173 unscheduled high schools visits. Alcohol, drugs, or weapons were found in 99 instances (Exhibit 12-8).
Exhibit 12-8Source: EPISD.
Summary of K-9 Visits and Results
1997-98 School Year
School Number of Visits No. of Times Contraband Found Percent Contraband Found to Visits Elementary/Middle School Basset 18 0 0% Canyon Hills 16 0 0% Charles 19 0 0% Guillen 23 0 0% Henderson 18 0 0% Hornedo 21 0 0% Lincoln 0 0 0% Magoffin 16 0 0% Morehead 25 5 20% Ross 17 0 0% Terrace Hills 20 1 5% Wiggs 27 0 0% MacArthur 17 0 0% Crockett 19 0 0% Houston 21 0 0% Coldwell 17 0 0% Subtotal Elementary/Middle 294 6 2% High School Andress 17 4 24% Austin 16 1 6% Bowie 18 7 39% Burges 15 13 87% Coronado 19 19 100% El Paso 22 16 73% Franklin 17 20 118% Irvin 15 4 27% Jefferson 19 9 47% CCT 15 0 0% Subtotal High School 173 93 54% Grand Total 467 99 21%
Drugs, alcohol, or weapons were found 2 percent of the time in middle schools and 54 percent of the time in high schools. In all, the K-9 program found contraband in 21 percent of its unscheduled visits. A Canine Program evaluation conducted in September 1998 reported that discipline referrals related to alcohol, drugs, or weapons fell by 5 percent as a result of the program (Exhibit 12-9).
Exhibit 12-9Source: EPISD.
Middle and High School Discipline Referrals
Related to Alcohol, Drugs, and Weapons
1996-97 Versus 1997-98
Reason for Referral 1997-98 1996-97 Difference Percent Difference Influence of alcohol 89 69 20 29% Distribution or possession of alcohol 52 41 11 27 Influence of drugs 278 241 37 15 Distribution or possession of drugs 232 232 0 0 Tobacco use 202 278 -76 (27) Possession of weapons or dangerous materials 186 229 -43 (19) Totals 1,039 1,090 -51 (5%)
EPISD's K-9 drug program has decreased the number of incidents of alcohol, drugs, and weapons possession throughout the district.
Although the K-9 program has been successful, it should be noted that the statistics presented in Exhibit 12-9 indicate that significantly more contraband was found in EPISD's high schools than in its middle or elementary schools, despite the fact that the high schools were visited less often (294 visits to elementary and middle schools versus only 173 visits at high schools).
Allocate the number of random K-9 searches for alcohol, drugs and weapons to give special emphasis to campuses experiencing higher incidences of contraband found.
Because contraband was found more often in high schools, the K-9 contractor should increase the number of visits to high schools as an intervention measure. As high school searches increase, visits to elementary and middle schools should be decreased but not eliminated. Should the rate of incidences increase at certain campuses, K-9 searches should concentrate on those campuses.
IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES AND TIMELINE
1. The executive director of Employee Relations and police chief, ask the K-9 contractor to modify its searches to concentrate more on high schools than elementary and middle schools.
2. The K-9 contractor modifies its searches in accordance with this request.
3. The K-9 contractor begins conducting more searches at high schools and fewer at elementary and middle schools.
This recommendation could be implemented with existing resources.
EPISD's Police Services Unit does not report to the appropriate functional area within the district organization. The police chief reports to the executive director of Employee Relations. In its 1996 Manpower Efficiency Study KPMG Peat Marwick recommended that the police chief report directly to the superintendent, but the previous superintendent felt this direct reporting relationship was inappropriate and opted to continue the existing reporting relationship to the executive director of Employee Relations.
Exhibit 12-10 compares the reporting relationships of police departments in selected peer districts.
Exhibit 12-10Source: Texas School Performance Review.
Comparison of Reporting Relationships for Police Departments
District Police Department Reports To: Corpus Christi ISD Assistant Superintendent for Business and Support Services Dallas ISD Associate Superintendent for Human Resources El Paso ISD Executive Director of Employee Relations Fort Worth ISD Contracted to Fort Worth Police Department Houston ISD Deputy Superintendent for Finance and Business Services San Antonio ISD Associate Superintendent for Planning and Change Management Socorro ISD Assistant Superintendent for Administration Ysleta ISD Executive Director of Auxiliary Services
Exhibit 12-10 shows that in five of the seven districts surveyed, the police chief reports to a deputy superintendent, an associate superintendent, or an assistant superintendent.
If the Police Services Unit does not report to the associate superintendent level or above, the district runs the risk of neglecting the importance of its safety and security priorities, which could result in an unsafe environment for students, teachers, and school employees.
Realign the Police Services Unit reporting relationship so that the police chief reports to the associate superintendent for Support Services.
The associate superintendent for Support Services is the logical overseer for the Police Services Unit. The Support Services Unit also handles pupil services and discipline-related issues, an appropriate complement to police services.
IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES AND TIMELINE
1. The superintendent revises the organization chart to create a direct reporting relationship from the Police Services Unit to the associate superintendent for Support Services.
2. The board approves the reorganization.
3. The superintendent implements the new reporting relationship.
This recommendation could be implemented with existing resources.
The Police Services Unit is understaffed and cannot adequately cover the district's schools and administrative facilities. On a given weekday, from three to five patrol officers are assigned to cover 125 schools and facilities throughout the district. Exhibit 12-11 presents the actual EPISD Police Services Unit patrol schedule for the period September 14, 1998 through October 11, 1998.
Exhibit 12-11Source: EPISD.
EPISD Patrol Schedule
September 14, 1998 Through October 11, 1998
Shift Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Shift No. 1 7:30a-5:30p Officer #1 Officer #1 Officer #1 Officer #1 7:30a-5:30p Officer #2 Officer #2 Officer #2 Officer #2 7:30a-5:30p Officer #3 Officer #3 Officer #3 Officer #3 7:30a-5:30p 9:30a-7:30p Officer #4 Officer #4 Officer #4 Officer #4 9:30a-7:30p Officer #5 Officer #5 Officer #5 Officer #5 9:30a-7:30p Officer #6 Officer #6 Officer #6 Officer #6 9:30a-7:30p Shift No. 2 7:30p-5:30a 7:30p-5:30a Officer #7 Officer #7 Officer #7 Officer #7 7:30p-5:30a Officer #8 Officer #8 Officer #8 Officer #8 7:30p-5:30a 9:30p-7:30a 9:30p-7:30a Officer #9 Officer #9 Officer #9 Officer #9 9:30p-7:30a 9:30p-7:30a
On Tuesday through Thursday, then, five officers are available to respond to incidents during the day. On Monday, only three are available; on Friday, four are available. Only one officer is available to cover the entire district on weekends.
Because of the lack of patrols, principals often complain about slow response times when incidents occur. Some even resort to contacting the EPPD, depending on the nature of the incident. While Police Services maintains a high level of cooperation with EPPD, EPISD police officers told TSPR that when EPPD is contacted, jurisdictional issues regarding who should handle the incident sometimes arise.
Exhibit 12-12 presents benchmark comparisons of police patrol coverage in selected peer districts.
Exhibit 12-12Source: Texas School Performance Review.
Peer District Comparisons for Police Coverage
Benchmark Corpus Christi ISD Dallas ISD El Paso ISD Fort Worth ISD Houston ISD San Antonio ISD Socorro ISD Ysleta ISD Average without El Paso ISD Square Miles 68 351 253 * 312 80 136 67 169 Facilities 75 318 125 * 418 106 29 62 168 Police Officers 51 124 26 * 210 81 47 88 100 Square Miles per Police Officer 1.3 2.8 9.7 * 1.5 1.0 2.9 0.8 1.7 Facilities per Police Officer 1.5 2.6 4.8 * 2.0 1.3 0.6 0.7 1.7
* Fort Worth ISD contracts its police department to the City of Fort Worth through a shared services arrangement.
Exhibit 12-12 shows that EPISD's Police Services Unit is considerably understaffed compared to police departments in peer districts. EPISD's police officers cover 9.7 square miles per police officer, more than five times the average in the peer districts, and 4.8 facilities per police officer, almost three times the peer district average. These statistics indicate inadequate coverage and must lead to slow response times and overworked officers. The police chief told TSPR that the district simply does not have the financial resources to increase its number of police officers.
In a search for best practices, TSPR found that the Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD) has implemented a novel cooperative five-year program with the City of Fort Worth so that the Fort Worth Police Department provides shared security services for its secondary schools. The City of Fort Worth passed a one-half cent sales tax to fund this School Security Initiative, which requires the district to split the payroll costs for 41 officers, one sergeant, and one lieutenant evenly with the City of Fort Worth. The 41 officers are stationed in 24 secondary schools and also provide coverage for elementary schools in each secondary school's feeder pattern. Vehicles, equipment, supplies, and training also are funded by the School Security Initiative. FWISD reports that the increased presence of law enforcement has improved the schools' climate and resulted in positive changes in student behavior.
EPISD pays 100 percent of the salary and benefits cost for the seven school resource officers serving its middle schools. In most school districts, this cost is shared with the police or sheriff's department providing the SROs. The executive director of Employee Relations and EPISD police chief said the district used EPPD SROs at one time, but had to pay EPPD 75 percent for the officers' salaries and benefits even though EPPD received federal grants for the SRO program. The EPPD SROs also were required to answer city calls, pulling them away from assigned campuses. EPISD had no control over the assigned SROs' duties and responsibilities. As a result, EPISD established its own SRO program for a lower cost and assigned the SROs to its Police Services Unit.
Typically, SRO programs are designed to assist schools with problems that go beyond traditional policing. The officers are equal partners with school faculty and staff, and assist students in dealing with conflicts, resolving problems, handling peer pressure, and avoiding criminal activity. As law enforcement officers, SROs can take police action related to incidents on or around schools, but are not responsible for security nor the enforcement of district administrative policy. Accordingly, school districts usually do not use SROs to monitor or chaperone extracurricular functions.
During focus group sessions with the SROs, TSPR found that they maintain an excellent relationship with EPPD and continuously share information related to EPISD students with the department.
Develop a program for shared security services between the City of El Paso and EPISD for police officers and school resource officers.
Because of a lack of resources that limit Police Services' ability to adequately cover EPISD's schools and facilities, the district should consider sharing its police services with the City of El Paso. The program should involve an interlocal agreement for the City of El Paso to provide police services to the district at one-half of their current cost. The program should add a minimum of 14 police officers to the district, bringing the total to 40, with the increased cost split evenly between the district and the city police force. EPISD also should pay 50 percent of the cost of equipment, maintenance, supplies, and training.
EPISD should assist displaced police officers not hired by EPPD, in finding employment with surrounding school districts, the City of El Paso, or elsewhere in the district for which they are qualified.
Given the nature of the SROs' relationship with EPPD and its limited resources, EPISD's Police Services Unit should share the cost of its SROs with EPPD. EPISD should include SROs in the shared services agreement and pay 50 percent of the cost as outlined in the proposed shared services model. Because of its limited financial resources, the district cannot afford to continue to carry 100 percent of the cost of SROs.
IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES AND TIMELINE
1. The superintendent contacts the mayor of the City of El Paso to begin discussions about developing a shared services model. May 1999 2. The superintendent and mayor develop a framework for sharing police services and SROs. June - October 1999 3. The superintendent and mayor present the a shared services model, with an interlocal agreement, to both the El Paso City Council and EPISD board for approval. November 1999 4. The El Paso City Council and EPISD board approve the interlocal agreement. December 1999 5. The superintendent and associate superintendent for Support Services develop action steps, with responsibility assignments and time lines, for implementing the interlocal agreement. January - February 2000 6. The superintendent, in conjunction with the associate superintendent for Support Services, implements the interlocal agreement. September 2000
The fiscal impact of this recommendation is based on the restructuring outlined in the above recommendation. Average salary and benefits (computed at 37 percent of salary) for EPPD officers were obtained from EPPD. Equipment, materials, supplies, and other expenses were obtained from estimates prepared by Fort Worth ISD for its 1997-98 School Security Initiative. Fiscal impact estimates shown in Exhibit 12-13 assume that both EPISD and the City of El Paso would contribute 50 percent each in payroll, equipment, materials, supplies, and other costs.
of EPISD Police Services Unit
Line Item One-Time (Costs) Annual (Costs) Savings Payroll & Related Benefits Eliminate 34 positions in the EPISD Police Department $745,468 Add: 38 EPPD officers, including 7 SROs (38 x $46,286 x 50%) ($879,434) Add: One Lieutenant ($60,280 x 50%) ($30,140) Add: One Sergeant ($53,430 x 50%) ($26,715) Add: Overtime pay (160 hrs. x 34 officers x $24.36 per hr. x 50%) ($66,259) Net Savings (Cost) of Shared Payroll ($257,080) Equipment Eliminate EPISD Police Dept.'s capital outlay budget $15,000 Add: 12 police vehicles (12 x $19,000 x 50%) ($114,000) - Add: 12 mobile radio systems (12 x $2,250 x 50%) ($13,500) - Add: 12 portable hand-held radios (12 x $2,500 x 50%) ($15,000) - Add: 12 mobile data terminals (12 x $3,500 x 50%) ($21,000) - Add: 12 prisoner screens (12 x $280 x 50%) ($1,680) - Add: 12 bar and siren assemblies (12 x $1,498 x 50%) ($8,988) - Add: 12 push bumpers (12 x $250 x 50%) ($1,500) - Net Savings (Cost) of Shared Equipment ($175,668) $15,000 Materials, Supplies, and Other Expenses Eliminate EPISD Police Dept.'s remaining budget $157,450 Add: fuel and maintenance costs (30 vehicles x 20,000 miles x 38
cents x 50%)
($114,000) Add: uniforms and equipment. for 40 officers (40 x $1,996 x 50%) ($39,920) Add: cost of annual training for officers ($120,000 x 50%) ($60,000) Add: office supplies and support for 40 officers (40 officers x
$3,500 x 50%)
($70,000) Net Savings (Cost) of Shared Materials, Supplies, and Other ($126,470) Net Savings (Cost) ($175,668) ($368,550)
EPISD also budgets $90,000 annually for districtwide campus patrols that would no longer be needed if the shared services model is implemented.
An analysis of the cost of shared services shows a one-time net investment of $175,668 and annual, ongoing net costs of $368,550. Although the analysis shows a net cost to EPISD, security service levels would increase incrementally, providing more coverage of schools and facilities throughout the district.
Moreover, when the shared services model is implemented, existing EPISD police officers should be given an opportunity to be hired when EPPD and EPISD begin sharing police services.
Shared security services costs with City of El Paso
One time investment for equipment
Eliminate campus patrols
EPISD does not have a formal anti-gang initiative and no longer reports incidents of violence, drug use, and gang-related activity to EPPD although the district estimates that there are about 150 known gang affiliations in EPISD, and are approximately 300 known gangs in the city. EPISD's police chief said the Police Services Unit is attempting to develop a uniform crime information database. The database will be connected to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI's) uniform crime information database. As of October 1998, however, EPISD did not have the fiscal resources to program accumulated EPISD incident data in the electronic form required by the FBI. The police chief did not know when funds would be available to complete the effort.
EPISD's police chief told TSPR that formal cooperation with EPPD through shared police reports is not possible because of EPPD's procedures and requirements. EPPD requires that any information entered into its Records Management System be entered in a report written by one of its own officers under one of its case numbers. EPISD's Police Services Unit inquired about receiving copies of police reports from EPPD involving EPISD cases and was advised that the district must pay for each copy and pick them up from EPPD's public information window. As a result, the Police Services Unit opted to informally cooperate on cases of interest to both EPISD and EPPD on a regular basis.
In the absence of financial resources to create a uniform crime information database and pay for copies of police reports, EPISD still can report incident statistics to EPPD at no incremental cost to the district. However, EPPD's Gang Task Force, in its "Gang Initiatives" report dated October 27, 1997, found that the majority of schools within the three school districts located within the City of El Paso avoid keeping gang-related statistics because of negative publicity. Reporting these incidents, nevertheless, would allow EPISD and EPPD to share information and design prevention initiatives related to violence, drug use, and gang-related activity.
Share information about violence, drug use, and gang-related incidents with the El Paso Police Department.
EPISD should share incident statistics with EPPD as it continues to develop the uniform crime information database. Sharing information about violence, drug use, and gang-related incidents with EPPD would allow the district to develop cooperative prevention and intervention programs with the police force.
IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES AND TIMELINE
1. The EPISD police chief meets with EPPD to determine the form in which incident statistics are to be submitted and the frequency of submission to EPPD.
2. The EPISD police chief and EPPD establish a protocol for sharing information based on the format and frequency of submission, including follow-up activities.
May - June 1999
3 EPISD's police chief begins sharing information with EPPD.
This recommendation could be implemented with existing resources.