NewsSarasota, Manatee County


Manatee County adding more armed security officers to schools

Posted at 5:42 AM, Mar 05, 2018

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — Armed officers will now be in every single Manatee County elementary school, plus a second at each high school starting Monday morning. 

RELATED: 17 dead in south Florida school shooting, 19-year-old suspect held without bond

District leaders said this is all in response to the South Florida shooting last month.

The plan is for these officers to be permanent, but for now, they are here until the end of the school year, said Mike Barber, Communications Director for Manatee County Schools.

Within this first school year, the district will spend about $400,000 to add those additional officers.

Joel Perez is the head of the county's school resource officer program.  He said the deputies were well received on the first day.

"It went well, their main focus is on school security," said Perez.

There are 32 elementary schools in Manatee County. A handful of those have had a resource officer on campus before. However now, this will be across the board, district leaders said.

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

Barber said the district didn't want to waste any time making changes, especially after the mass school shooting in Parkland last month and that parents have been supportive.

"…It provides just another layer of safety that makes them feel good about the security level of our schools," he said.

The next step will be securing funding for the next school year and that is something the school board is working on moving forward with, Barber said.