The state of Texas has recently implemented a new law, known as HB 3, which mandates that every school campus must have an armed security officer. This law was a direct response to the tragic shooting that took place at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. As a result, school districts across the state are now scrambling to find the necessary security personnel before the new school year begins.
One private security company in Dallas, L&P Global Security, has found themselves inundated with requests for assistance from school districts. Lalit Sharma, the Managing Partner of L&P, expressed his acknowledgment that this influx of requests was a possibility. L&P has been providing licensed armed security for various private businesses since 2018, such as banks, credit unions, and construction sites. Now, school districts lacking their own school resource officers are turning to companies like L&P for help.
Charlie Hollis, the Director of Operations for L&P Global Security, praised the proactive nature of Wylie Independent School District (ISD), which was the first district in North Texas to enlist their services. Wylie ISD already partners with the Wylie Police Department and the Sachse Police Department to provide school resource officers at its high schools and junior highs. However, like most schools across the state, their elementary and intermediate campuses did not have armed security personnel until HB 3 was enacted. With the new law now in effect, Wylie ISD is coordinating with L&P Global Security to meet the requirement of having 13 additional security personnel in place before classes start.
In addition to Wylie ISD, Allen ISD has also sought assistance from L&P and is currently working on deploying 17 security personnel by the start of their school year on August 10th. Hollis revealed that discussions are still ongoing with several other North Texas school districts, approximately six in total, that are in need of similar assistance. HB 3 mandates that all security additions must be in place by September 1st.
To meet the high demand, L&P Global Security, which currently employs 200 individuals statewide, is actively seeking to hire approximately 150 more qualified personnel. Their ideal candidates are ex-military or retired peace officers who can successfully pass rigorous background checks and meet specific training requirements. Hollis emphasized that the selection process is stringent, as only about three out of every ten candidates meet their standards.
Sharma acknowledged the urgent need for qualified security personnel statewide and praised the hardworking staff at L&P who are tirelessly recruiting talented individuals. He also expressed confidence in the individuals they have already hired, stating that they are committed to their work and will be assets to the company for the long term.
Apart from the immediate challenge of finding qualified personnel, many school districts are also grappling with the financial burden of providing additional security. Although HB 3 offers partial funding for the added security measures, the majority of districts are facing deficit budgets as they struggle to meet the cost.
With the implementation of HB 3, school districts in Texas are taking proactive measures to ensure the safety of their campuses. Private security companies like L&P Global Security are stepping in to assist districts that lack their own school resource officers. However, the process of hiring and training qualified personnel, as well as addressing financial constraints, poses significant challenges for both the districts and the security companies. As the new school year quickly approaches, it remains to be seen how successfully these requirements can be implemented across the state.