Commission approves adding deputies at 60 Orange County schools

Orange Co. Sheriff says not all schools will have officer at all times

By Lisa Bell - Anchor

ORLANDO, Fla. - Orange County Commissioners unanimously approved a $3 million budget to add an Orange County sheriff's deputy at each of the 60 elementary schools in the county on Tuesday.

Orange County mayor Teresa Jacobs proposed the addition of school resource officers for the remainder of the 2012-2013 school year on Monday.

The proposal comes after the mass shooting at a Newtown, Conn. elementary school shocked the nation, where a gunman opened fire and killed 20 students and 6 teachers on Friday.

She said she is relieved after the vote Tuesday afternoon.

"The incident came to an immediate halt when law enforcement arrived and I think the only thing that might have changed that outcome is had there been a deputy on the premises," said Jacobs.

But it's still not a guarantee that a deputy will be at every school. Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings says deputies will have to work overtime to cover all 60 schools. He has they ability to order them to work overtime at the schools, but he's not ready to do so.

"I don't see that it's necessary at this point and again that's a managerial decision that you make at some point based on the need to do so," said Demings. "I don't see the need to do that today."

Instead, the sheriff will rely on deputies volunteering for the job. It'll pay about $40 an hour, but there may be days when some schools are not staffed, Demings said.

The plan does not cover schools in cities like Orlando and Apopka, which are staffed by city police officers.

The measure also does not cover charter schools. Orange County School Board Chairman Bill Sublette says each charter school principal is responsible for their own security staffing.

School resource officers are already in place at Orange County middle schools and high schools. Previously, elementary schools didn't have school resource officers on campus every day of the week.

The mayor's proposal also comes after recent scares locally, including at Waterbridge Elementary and Freedom Middle schools Monday morning.

Orange County deputies were called out to Crystal Glen Boulevard and Rollman Road, just one block from Waterbridge early Monday morning. A stuffed animal, possibly a rocking horse, had what was described as a suspicious black box attached to it.  Parents were terrified.

"I bring them to school thinking everything is going to be alright. If something happens what do I do? What do i do?," said parent Ailyn Gordils.

Various Central Florida counties are implementing new security measures in the wake of the shooting. Read more by clicking here.

Watch Local 6 for more on this story.

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