Editor’s note: This is the second in an occasional series on school safety.

The Whitesboro Independent School District will join the school districts in Howe, Whitewright and Bells in the formation of police departments that will focus on providing security for their staff and students. Whitesboro Superintendent Ryan Harper said his district’s school board began considering the option back in May and made the decision to hire someone this past summer.

Whitesboro ISD hired Sherman Police Lt. D.M. Hampton as its safety and security director. Harper said one of Hampton’s first duties will be to assemble and file the needed paperwork for Whitesboro ISD to form its own police department.

“He was a very highly qualified candidate,” Harper said. “His references spoke very highly of him.”

Harper added Hampton came across well as both a police office and as someone who would project a positive image of police officers for the students at Whitesboro ISD.

“I am looking forward to serving that community and being as dedicated to Whitesboro and Whitesboro ISD as I was to the city of Sherman for the last 22.5 years,” Hampton said when asked about his new position.

Hampton, a Sherman native, graduated from Grayson College with an associate degree in criminal justice before he was hired by the department in 1996. He previously served as a member of the department’s patrol division, Criminal Investigation Division, Special Response Team, as a bike officer, field training officer and public information officer.

In an interview with the Herald Democrat earlier this year, Hampton credited his faith in Jesus Christ with getting him through the 22 years he has spent in law enforcement. Hampton is slated to retire from the Sherman Police Department on Sept. 13 and begin working at Whitesboro ISD on Sept. 17.

Hampton said he was looking forward to his whole weekend of retirement before he starts his new position in Whitesboro.

Harper said the district looked at a number of scenarios before deciding what direction to take with regard to school safety. He said they looked at continuing to use off-duty officers from local police departments and the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office, as well as considering the Defender program that allows teachers and other school personnel to carry weapons. Ultimately, Harper said, the board decided to “get a person on hand who is a former police officer who could really start evaluating our internal safety needs from that standpoint.”

Harper said the district has set aside $80,000 to both pay Hampton and get the district’s police department up and running. He said that money will come from the district’s fund balance for the first year.

Harper said the district will then evaluate its needs and budget on a yearly basis to access when growth is needed for the police department. Hampton, Harper said, will be making visits to each campus each week during this school year.