Riesel Independent School District’s first safety director was arrested on campus Tuesday after a Texas Ranger investigation concluded he was acting as a police officer without an authorized agency to carry his peace officer’s commission.
Jeffrey Reid McNair, 46, was booked into McLennan County Jail on Tuesday morning on a warrant obtained by Texas Ranger Jim D. Hatfield Jr. that charges him with impersonating a peace officer, a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
McNair started as Riesel ISD’s first director of school safety in June. Riesel Superintendent Brandon Cope told the Tribune-Herald at the time that the district was finalizing paperwork with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement that would make McNair the chief and sole officer of the 675-student district’s new police department.
“This will be a full-fledged new department, the first one that I’ve been a part of, but it is going very well and we look forward to a good experience,” Cope said in June.
However, Hatfield’s arrest affidavit states that while McNair is a licensed police officer, no agency is carrying his peace officer’s commission, which is required before an officer can perform official duties. A check with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement found Riesel ISD is not recognized by TCOLE, “and no application has been submitted for approval to establish a Riesel Independent School District Police Department,” according to the affidavit.
In an email response to questions Tuesday, Cope wrote that the school district has been “working on the application process.” He did not offer any timeline for the process but said the district is cooperating with law enforcement.
“Out of respect for the individual employee in question and because there is an ongoing law enforcement investigation concerning this matter, I have no further comment on the criminal charge or the circumstances leading up to the charge,” Cope wrote. “The safety and well-being of our students is our top priority, and we have no reason to believe that any Riesel ISD student or staff member was placed in harm’s way as a result of the actions of the employee in question.
“At this time, the Riesel ISD Board of Trustees has declared its desire and intent to establish a district police department to add an additional layer of safety and protection for our students, and the district intends to submit its application to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement in the near future.”
Hatfield wrote in the affidavit he was contacted by Riesel Police Chief Danny Krumnow, who reported one of his officers saw McNair wearing a uniform “identifying him as a police officer on Riesel ISD campuses and other locations within the city,” court records state. Krumnow declined comment Tuesday on McNair’s arrest.
On Aug. 21, the officer spotted McNair wearing a uniform with a police badge, duty belt, handgun and a Taser while directing traffic in front of a Riesel school at 600 E. Frederick St.
The affidavit states TCOLE Lt. Gary Connella confirmed McNair was not commissioned by a police agency, that no application had been filed to establish a Riesel ISD Police Department, and that no one from Riesel ISD had contacted him about filing an application.
McNair told Hatfield his commission was not being carried by a law enforcement agency and that he had not worked as a police officer since last year, according to the affidavit.
McNair said he had all the paperwork required to establish a police department but had not submitted it and had not contacted TCOLE about establishing a police department, according to the affidavit.
McNair was released Tuesday on $5,000 bond.
McNair previously worked as assistant chief for the Dallas County Marshal Service and as an officer with the Allen Police Department.
The Riesel school board approved the development of the one-man police department in May.