Sarasota Schools Police Department to hire at least 25 more school resource officers for 2019-2020

Updated: Jan. 24, 2019 at 8:30 AM EST
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SARASOTA (WWSB) - “I would still like to see a little bit more security, with everything that goes on around there’s just never enough," said Derek Crane. Crane and so many other parents could be getting their wish. The Sarasota County Schools Police Department could grow by as many as 25 to 30 school resource officers and supervisors for the 2019-2020 school year. Crane is the father of a first grade student at Southside Elementary School.

“It should always be high in importance, that should be number one especially children this age because they’re very easily susceptible to be taken,” said Crane.

Currently the Sarasota County Schools Police Department is made up of 26 School Resource Officers, 3 Sergeants, 2 Regional Response Units, one Police Chief and numerous staff and technical positions to support the department. As part of an agreement, local law enforcement agencies including the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office also supply officers at various schools throughout the county. That’s an agreement that ends June 30th, which would be good timing for the new school resource officers and the department to transition.

“Ultimately the goal of the school police is to make sure to provide the very best service with all of our partners for the safety of the students,” said Chief Tim Enos with the Sarasota County Schools Police Department.

Right now most elementary schools and just one middle school and one high school have School Resource Officers from the schools department, the other schools are covered by local law enforcement. Each high school has two officers and the middle and elementary schools have one each.

“The kids in order to learn have to come to a safe environment and all of the stuff that we do at the school police department our faculty, our partners, the municipalities, the sheriff, the teachers, the parents," said Enos. "Everybody is what makes this school safe.”

The 2018-2019 schools police department budget is 3.5 million dollars plus another 3.7 million dollars of non-salary expenses which includes contracts with other law enforcement agencies. Their budget also includes 29 million dollars in capital expenses. We should know the numbers for the 2019-2020 budget sometime this summer.

The chief is currently interviewing candidates and hopes to have them hired by July 8th.

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