Committee recommends school resource officers in Osceola County wear body cameras

‘It’s about seeing the bigger picture,’ school board member says

Task force recommends body cameras for all school resource officers
Task force recommends body cameras for all school resource officers

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – A special committee is recommending all school resource officers in Osceola County should be required to wear body cameras.

The recommendation came during the fourth meeting of the SRO Citizens Advisory Task Force, which was created by school board member Julius Melendez after the takedown of a student at Liberty High School in January.

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“It’s about seeing the bigger picture,” Melendez said. “When you combine it with everything else, it just helps you see what realistically happened.”

School resource officers with the St. Cloud police department are currently outfitted with body cameras, but there is no similar policy for the Kissimmee Police Department or the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office.

Melendez said the committee was able to receive a commitment from Kissimmee’s police chief to equip the department’s 16 SROs, but a representative from the sheriff’s office said about $235,000 would be needed to outfit its 65 school resource deputies.

“They said that maybe they can probably work around 22 cameras to retrofit their high school student population within two years,” Melendez said.

The panel’s recommendation is to rollout the equipment by the beginning of the school year, which Melendez said could become a reality if the sheriff’s office explores grant options for the funding.

“When the school district can say ‘This is a priority to us and we can work in lockstep with them.’ We can find ways to address that,” Melendez said.

The task force is scheduled to meet again at the end of April, where members are planning to finalize a list of recommendations for the school board.


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About the Author:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.