Some local schools still need to hire resource officers

Districts say they have plans to make sure students are safe

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OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – Some Central Florida schools are still looking to fill school resource officer positions, despite being days away from the start of the 2018-2019 school year.

Osceola County is one of the counties still hiring for school resource officers right now.  The Osceola County Sheriff's Office said it is still actively looking to fill six open positions to make sure schools are fully covered.

But, the Sheriff’s Office said, it has a plan to make sure all 55 SRO positions are filled before the first day of classes.

"We’re still going to have a deputy at every school starting on the 13th, even with these six openings. We’ll just have to mange our personnel accordingly," said Maj. Jacob Ruiz, of the Osceola County Sheriff's Office. 

Ruiz said every school will be covered, even if that means pulling from in-house deputies. He said deputies in the patrol division will not be affected and the streets will be fully covered also. 

Ruiz said the Sheriff’s Office also plans to comply with Gov. Rick Scott’s safe schools plan to make sure the larger high schools have two SROs. He said deputies have gone through active shooter training and other professional training. He said deputies and teachers in Osceola County are getting more training than the state's plan requires.

"We’re going to have additional training during the school year in responding and working with staff and the administrators on how to act or react during an incident,"  Ruiz said.

Parents simply want their children to be safe. 

"I hope they find all the sheriff (deputies) they need to protect us," parent Miladdy Geurreio said. 

Geurreio has two children in Osceola County schools. She said the Parkland High School mass shooting crosses her mind every so often and she wants to make sure her children and all students are safe. 

"We need the sheriff (deputies) for the protection, so they should be more than we need, not short,"  Geurreio said.

On Thursday, News 6 checked with all of Central Florida’s school systems. Each said it is planning on stationing a SRO or school guardian at every school in its district. Below are the districts' unedited responses:

Seminole County

"We have no vacancies to fill.  We've had dedicated SRO's at ALL our schools for the previous TWO school years prior to the Parkland incident.  Last year, we had 70 SRO's in our district.  This year, w/ the added state funding, we're adding to that.  In addition, we'll have TWO SRO's at ALL our High Schools this school year."

Volusia County

"Volusia will have a law enforcement officer or school guardian in every school on opening day, August 13.

"We partner with Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach, South Daytona and DeLand to provide officers at some schools within their jurisdictions.  Sheriff’s deputies are at eight of our middle schools, seven of our high schools and one alternative ed center.  The remainder of the schools (all elementary) will have a school guardian; however, there are eight guardians who will not complete their training until September, so eight elementary schools will have an off-duty Sheriff’s deputy until those guardians complete their training."

Orange County

"Orange County Public Schools partners with nine local law enforcement agencies that provide SRO services. An SRO will be assigned to every school. Students return to school on Monday, August 13."

Brevard County

"A law enforcement officer will be on every Brevard Public Schools campus as we begin the new school year. We are still in the process of selecting and hiring 31 school safety and security specialists. In the meantime, we are collaborating with our local municipalities to have off-duty law enforcement officers assigned to campuses as needed."

Lake County

"We partnered with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) and Mount Dora Police Department to provide 23 resource officers in our middle and high schools, same as last year.

"Last year, we had none in our elementary schools, but this year we partnered with city police departments to place resource officers in elementary schools within their city limits. The Sheriff’s Office is providing resource officers in those elementary schools outside of city limits. And for those cities that could not support a partnership for the schools in their cities, the school district has hired security guardians."

Flagler County

"Flagler Schools is all set to go with School Resource Deputies provided by the Flagler County Sheriff's Office. We welcome our students back to our campuses on Friday, August 10th."

Marion County

"Marion County Public Schools has contracted with three local law enforcement agencies to have 56 school resource officers on campus when schools open Monday, August 13.

"We are all set here in Marion County."


About the Author:

Jerry Askin is an Atlanta native who came to News 6 in March 2018 with an extensive background in breaking news.