ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Getting school resource officers hired, trained, and in place is a massive task. Some departments might be forced to take cops off the streets in the meantime.
Part of Florida's new school safety mandate requires a school resource officer at every school.
Florida Governor Rick Scott actually proposed one SRO for every 1,000 students. Now, local law enforcement agencies have to figure out how to make it happen.
Yolanda Fernandez, a spokesperson with St. Petersburg Police said they've gutted their gang unit and eliminated community service officers among other positions in an effort to fulfill the new school mandate.
St. Petersburg Police needs to hire 33 new officers to meet the requirement but that will take at least two years because of training and probationary time. Training an officer typically takes one year and probation lasts another year so you're looking at two years before a new officer can be placed at a school.
Fernandez said, "The problem is not about having interested officers."
The challenge is about time- departments need more time to comply and until they have enough officers, some departments will have to settle by taking officers from other areas to meet the school mandate.
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