NewsCitrus, Hernando County


Hernando County Sheriff's Office adding school resource offices to every school in the district

Posted at 5:47 AM, Feb 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-28 17:12:09-05

HERNANDO CO, Fla. — Every school in Hernando County will a school resource officers on campus as early as Thursday. 

"We have to get law enforcement officers in every school in our state," said Governor Scott on Wednesday.  

The Governor says state money will fund putting more officers in schools but some counties aren’t waiting for the funds. Manatee County who is putting 34 new officers in schools starting Monday.

RELATED: Law enforcement officers to be added to every Manatee County school following Parkland shooting

Sarasota County is also working on a plan to get officers in schools immediately.

But Hillsborough, Polk, Pasco, and Pinellas Counties say they are waiting on funding from the state.

"In Pinellas County alone we have 80 schools that don’t have any law enforcement officers at all, and coming up with 80 law enforcement personnel to staff those schools will be a tall order," said Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.

Sheriff Al Nienhuis says he drafted the proposal to add more resource officers after the South Florida school shooting. 

There are 23 schools in the district. Nienhuis says 13 of them are currently staffed with a resource officer, so he'll be adding 10 more deputies to patrols the remaining schools. 

On Tuesday Hernando County Commissioners approved more than $880,000 in funding the sheriff’s office to get school resource officers into schools immediately.

The county says the hiring of seven new county workers has been put on hold to make money available for the officers.

"We want to keep children safe after all. We also dipped into our reserve account and doing that allowed us to come up with 443,000 plus," said Hernando County Administrator Leonard Sossamon.  

The Hernando County school district is paying for half of the cost, a hearty $443,553. They say the money is available in their general fund and won’t take away from any other school programs. 

"I think we should have police officers at the school as well as on campus officers and I think its a great idea to keep all of our kids safe," said Brookville dad Thomas Flanders. 

The $887,107 will be enough to fund the new officers only through September. The county and school say they will work the money into next years budget, but they also hope money coming from the state will be able to help out.

Sheriff Nienhuis says the new resource officers will train Wednesday, before they start working Thursday morning. 

Unanimously approved - Funding of 10 additional SROs in county schools. The BOCC will provide the Hernando County Sheriff's Office $887,107 from the General Fund Reserves. This funding will provide the immediate needs of 10 more SROs, a SRO Sergeant, a floating SRO and a SRO Training Officer through September 30, 2018. The School District will vote on this tonight. Upon approval by the School Board, the School District will be invoiced for one half of the cost at $443,553.50 which, upon receipt, will be returned to reserves.

RELATED: Governor Scott announces "major action plan" to keep FL students safe