Hillsborough County is making moves to get trained, armed security officers in every school as soon as possible.
On Thursday, Hillsborough County officials, including the sheriff, superintendent, state attorney and other local law enforcement leaders, announced their new school safety plan.
The plan includes training 101 new officers to ensure all elementary and charter schools have officers at them.
Currently, middle and high schools already have an armed guard on duty. But with more than 100 elementary schools in Hillsborough County, Sheriff Chad Chronister says it’s a tall task.
“At the beginning it will be manpower intensive to law enforcement officers because we are going to have to fill those schools until we get school security personnel trained and hired,” Chronister said, “Our ideal candidate puts safety of our children at the forefront as well as passion for service and being willing to learn safety tactics.”
Chronister is not worried that public safety will suffer with officers from various departments filling in at schools until the new officers are hired and trained. New officers will receive 132 hours of training from the sheriff’s office.
To pay for the new security, the district will get $6 million every year from state funds.
“They made a commitment to increase the safe school allocation for school districts $6 million, this plan meets that budget,” Superintendent Jeff Eakins said, “We are pleased we won’t have to spend more dollars that could go to our classrooms to ensure safety for our students.”
More specifically, the new safety plan will cost $7 million the first year and $5.3 million the next year.
“The children are our priority. Their safety is our priority. It’s a big responsibility,” School Resource Officer Ana Anderson said.
Chronister says so far 45 people have applied for the job. According to Florida’s new school safety law, all vacancies must be filled by the start of the 2018-19 school year.
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