As the sun began to set outside the Randall Reed Center, about a dozen members of the drumline from Westfield High School’s band stood in two rows, their percussive sounds echoing around the parking lot to welcome Spring ISD police officers and other guests.
The performance was the kickoff to the 30th Anniversary Celebration of the Spring ISD Police Department, which gathered at the Randall Reed Center on Wednesday evening to honor and recognize three decades of service.
“The Spring ISD Police Department and its officers have been on our Spring campuses every single day for the past 30 years, giving our students, teachers, and parents peace of mind. These officers show up for one reason: to protect our students and teachers,” Board President Rhonda Newhouse said. “I see the hard work put in — day in and day out. And I know that hard work continues every day.”
Established in 1991, the police department has grown from just a few officers at its start to today employing 65 licensed police officers, 10 police dispatchers, 3 crime analysts, 3 civilian staff, and 25 crossing guards. The department has also ushered in many firsts, including being the first school district police department in Texas to establish a police therapy K-9 and handler program. As well as a Real-Time Safety Center staffed by the 3 crime analysts to assist with managing real-time safety and crime concerns on the campus.
The department was also recognized over the pandemic for its rollout of a contact-tracing program for students, teachers, and staff who may have been exposed to COVID-19. The 15 department employees involved with that immense task were all recognized with a special unit citation during the ceremony. The employees recognized were Lt. Max Toliver, Lt. Robert Tyler, Sgt. Dwendol Bryant, Cpl. Danay Charles, Cpl. William Dawkins, Cpl. Andre Jones, Officer Martha Davis, Officer Dean Hensley, Officer Robert Lee, Officer LaKiasha Perry, Officer Jamie Saenz, Officer Fabian Walker, Officer Valerie Williams, Emergency Management Coordinator Warren Porter, and Allyson Kelly.
It is work that Police Chief Ken Culbreath said has been a result of the partnership between the department and the district over the past three decades.
“This department has established a strong legacy of leadership and excellence over the past 30 years,” Culbreath said. “We look forward to furthering that legacy with our Next Generation Policing program.”
That program, set to begin in January and extend through 2026, establishes four main goals for the department, with a vision of being the premier school district police department in Texas. Those four goals are to protect the well-being of students and teachers, install next-generation policing strategies, improve crisis and emergency management response, and enhance professional standards and opportunities for officers.
That future was highlighted by Superintendent Dr. Rodney E. Watson during his remarks at the ceremony, telling the gathered officers that the department’s strong legacy was one worth building on.
“Each of you has had the courage and the bravery to not settle for second best,” Watson said. “Don’t let the rich past cause you not to see the opportunity or the importance of leaving a new legacy for future officers, kids, parents, and our Spring ISD community.”