"We aren’t trying to be big and bad. We just want to make sure if in the unlikely event, that something goes down, we have the right people with the right tools to get that job done,” Principal Dr. Bill Jones said.
In its final report, the panel recommended funding for school resource officers at every school in the state, or at least at every middle and high school campus, with multiple elementary schools sharing one officer.
The department will be comprised of a chief, two lieutenants, four sergeants, 36 school resource officers, three relief school resource officers and a detective.
The new positions will replace the previous district job descriptions for hall monitors. Those jobs were left vacant as those employees retired or were transferred to other areas within the school district.
Saratoga Parents for Safer Schools is comprised of parents advocating for more school resource officers, more mental health services and for reworking the grounds monitor position to what the group calls a school security officer.
The Florida Senate Education Committee will discuss next week a bill for school safety that would allow trained classroom teachers to be armed on campus as school “guardians.”
School officials said they aim to have a police officer present on every campus in the district. The officers help with student safety as well as building relationships between the police officers and students.
The men who serve as armed guards work in teams of three every Sunday morning, according to a schedule emailed out every six weeks. Two men are placed near the main entrances to the church and double as greeters for the service. A third man stands near the pastor at the front of the church.
If successful, it would be the first time a K-8 school district in Burlington County has been guarded full-time by a non-law enforcement officer.
The Sarasota County Schools Police Department in Florida plans to hire at least 25 more school resource officers and supervisors for the 2019-2020 school year.