Santa Rosa to Add Eight School Resource Officers to Santa Rosa Schools This Year
A proposed budget increase for the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office would include the equipment for eight new school resource officers at schools that currently only have off-duty deputies.
- By Kaitlyn DeHaven
- July 24, 2019
A proposed budget increase for the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office would mean that eight permanent school resource officers could be added to the county.
The budget for the school resource officers is a $1,00,028 budgeted line time in the LOST funds. It will include new patrol cars, guns, radios, uniforms and other equipment for the officers. The school district is responsible for paying the school resource officers’ salaries, but the sheriff’s office is responsible for the equipment.
Last year, eight schools had off-duty deputies that were paid by the school to patrol on their off days, but did not have permanent protection. These new positions will make it possible for all the schools in the county to have at least one full-time officer who is solely focused on school safety.
“Number one, it’s mandated by the state [to have SROs]. The law that passed last year basically said you have to have a good guy with a gun in every school every day,” Sheriff Bob Johnson said. “Tim Wyrosdick [Superintendent] decided early on he wanted SROs, he didn’t want the guardian program [a state program that trains non-deputies to stop active shooters], because SROs have arrest powers. They can break up fights, they can arrest kids who bring drugs to school, all of that.”
According to the Pensacola News Journal, the LOST funding is not contingent upon whether or not the half-cent sales tax increase is approved by voters on Oct. 8.
Johnson said that hopefully this increase in SROs will reduce the likelihood of a school shooting, and will protect the students as well.
“The main reason it’s important is that kids will be safer in school,” Johnson said. “I mean, you see a marked patrol car in front of every school in Santa Rosa County, you’re going to think twice about going in there and shooting the school up. Hopefully, it will prevent an active shooter situation from occurring in this county.”
Kaitlyn DeHaven is the Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.