Cities consider beefing up school security
Meeting comes after Orange County adds armed deputies to schools
The Orange County Council of Mayors met on Friday to discuss what should be done to increase security at schools.
The move comes less than a month after a shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., left 20 children dead.
The council met with police chiefs from cities within Orange County that are not patrolled by the Orange County Sheriff's Office, but the school board didn't attend the meeting, which the officials say they found discouraging because they want to work with OCPS to make a uniform policy.
"These municipalities cannot dictate to OCPS that's why I say to them 'tell us what you want,'" said Windermere Mayor Gary Bruhn.
The Orange County Sheriff's Office recently added an armed deputy at every school in the unincorporated parts of the county, a move expected to cost about $3 million. The district also toughened its check-in policy for school visitors.
All the police chiefs and mayors of cities agreed that schools would be safer with officers inside.
"The mere presence of police does in fact deter crime," said Chief Doug Ball of Maitland Police Department.
All attendees also agreed that the districts don't have the staff, manpower or the funding to put an officer in each school. To solve the problem, elected officials proposed several ideas, including having rotating officers visit each school on a secret schedule.
Funding could also come from federal grants, according to the officials. Another idea was to get Orange County Public Schools to create their own police force.
"We're doing this because of the kids and we're going to help out," said Maitland Mayor Howard Scheiferdecker.
Schools that are in city limits within Orange County were not included in the Sheriff's Office plan because they are not in the agency's jurisdiction.
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