Sulphur Springs ISD Police Department’s new emergency operations coordinator has updated the school district’s emergency operations plan and is seeking grants to better protect and equip campus officers to do their jobs.
SSISD Police Officer Pat Leber, emergency operations coordinator for the district who is assigned to Barbara Bush Primary, noted that the Governor now requires schools to have an audit of their basic emergency operations plan, including section designated to active threat and an active shooter training and plans.
The SSISD emergency operations plan had to be submitted by Oct. 12 to Region 8 Education Service Center. Leber submitted the district’s operations plan, which he updated, adding the requirements coming from the Governor and recent legislative sessions. It will be checked to make sure all criteria are met. The district will receive feedback from the ESC, for any suggestions or things that need improvement. If the audit comes back good, without any major changes, Leber anticipates presenting the emergency operations plan to the school board for final approval.
Leber also asked for the school trustees to consider approving a resolution giving the go ahead so a grant can be sought from the Office of the Governor for protective equipment for ISD police. The state had $50 million allocated for equipment for law enforcement for bullet resistant shields and ALERT training.
The district does qualify to apply for funding, but must first pass a resolution approving submission of the application and intended use.
With the approval of the resolution, Leber explained, the district can be reimbursed for those who receive the ALERT training, which they could teach to others at school as an instructor. Leber said SSISD currently has four more instructors in that area.
SSISD Police Department plans to request $37,890 in grant funding, roughly 4,210 per unit for personnel on all 9 campuses, from the bullet resistant shield program.
SSISD Board of Trustees Vice President Jason Dietze, who conducted Wednesday’s meeting in Craig Roberts’ absence, asked if the grant is a competitive grant
Leber noted that with over 1200 school district across the state, so getting the application in as soon as possible is time sensitive. The application is currently on hold pending the board’s approval of the resolution.
He explained that he had reached out to other agencies to find out the kinds of bullet resistant shields they are equipping their officers and consulted with experts. The bullet equipment he recommended comes with a warranty and selected after weighing protection versus weight of the equipment.
The Office of the Governor approved GT distributors to provide equipment for this part of the program, Leber noted, and asked the board to consider approving the resolution so the grant application can be considered for funding.
Board member Leesa Toliver, during the Oct. 19, 2022 meeting, said the officers need to be protected and made a motion to approving submission of the grant application to Governor’s Office for the Bullet Resistant Shield Program. The motion was seconded by Board member John Prickette, and approved unanimously by the five trustees at the meeting.
Superintendent Lamb said Leber, who retired from Sulphur Springs Police Department recently, and Chief Glynda Chester have done an amazing job and bring valuable experience to the job.
Chester added that the school district is indeed lucky to have Leber, who hasn’t been with the district very long, but jumped right in and has already dedicated quite a bit of time working on emergency management. She expressed appreciation to him for that, and the equipment grant is the second grant proposal Leber has compiled seeking funding to help better equip and protect officers. SSISD Police Department also applied for a grant from the NRA for ammunition for SSISD PD officers.
“We are excited to have him on board,” Chester said.