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Killeen school district makes campus safety upgrades for new school year

Killeen ISD is making changes to better secure campuses and improve police resources ahead of the fall semester

KILLEEN, Texas — Killeen ISD Police Chief Ralph Disher and KISD Safety Director Charles Kelly addressed the school board Tuesday on changes happening in the school district.

The improvements come in the wake of the Robb Elementary School shooting where 19 students and two teachers lost their lives.

Killeen ISD staff will now be checking all exterior campus doors once a week as required by the Texas Education Agency and campus staff is meeting today to work out the logistics for that requirement. Kelly told board members safety staff had already been checking doors in the past, but now they will be disciplining teachers or staff that don't follow the policy. 

"It used to be kind of a nice thing. Like 'hey, keep that locked.' Now we are not quite as nice about it," Kelly said. "Now it is a discipline situation if a door is unlocked and children are inside. It's a problem. We are training staff on that and they know now that's not an option."

The district is also installing peepholes in some doors to increase staff safety. KISD Spokeswoman Taina Maya told 6 News cafeteria staff had already been asking for that upgrade so they could see who was delivering items to school entrances. 

Maya said the school district moved up that request after the Uvalde Shooting. Kelly said the need for peepholes also came up in previous audits. 

In order to aid law enforcement, the district is working to place classroom numbers on all exterior windows. This would allow first responders to find the correct classroom and even breach from outside during a crisis. 

"We have a lot of classrooms and it's nice to know that that number is there. It's a small thing, but it's an important thing," Kelly said. 

Finally, the district is getting a K9 unit that specializes in detecting weapons. KISD officers are training with the K9s to be ready for the fall semester. Chief Disher said it was something the district needed. 

"In light of some of the cases we've had this last year in recovering weapons from campus, we've felt that that was a need," Disher said. "When we start this school year, we will actually have two K9s in place. One for narcotics and one in weapons." 

KISD currently has 30 officers in its police department. The district has 51 campuses, so some officers will switch between schools during the week.

Disher said all law enforcement agencies are struggling to find quality recruits and that can make adding more staff a challenge. 

"I would love to have an officer at every campus. That would be ideal," Disher said. "The problem is trying to find them. That's a constant struggle for us." 

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