VENICE, Fla. — Venice High School is clearing out an office to make space for police officers with the Venice Police Department. They say it’s a spot for officers to stop in and work whenever they want.
They also say it’s a way to bring them closer to students and keep them safe. An added bonus - it should speed up response time.
The school has two school resource officers but if they needed back up during an emergency, it would take officers at least 10 minutes to get there from their main office — and that’s if traffic is good.
"As you know the difference between life and death could be a matter of seconds,” said Eric Jackson, the Venice High School principal.
Sam Exler is a Sophomore at the school.
"Usually when any incident happens at the school, and they needed a police officer to come it would take them longer than it should’ve,” he said.
It's why he's relieved knowing additional officers will be at the school throughout the day.
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Jackson came up with the idea after the shooting in South Florida. He says it seemed easy enough to make a reality with no added cost. "Wouldn’t it be nice to say that we have a 24/7 presence here that would be a deterrent for anybody who would be thinking to do harm to our school community?”
The office, which is currently filled with security cameras from around the school monitoring activity in the hallways, will also have a computer hooked up to the police department's network so they can file paperwork and take a break.
Ruth Terry, an SRO at the school says it gives the entire department a chance to get to know the kids too, which she says will build a stronger and more tight knit community.
"I think we have a good relationship with the students. They feel free to come up and talk to us and tell us things that are going on so we can take care of it,” she said.
The work station will be open in August of this year, ahead of the new school year.