MARIANNA, Fla. (WMBB) — The Jackson County School Board unanimously voted in favor of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office providing 16 deputies to the district to serve as School Resource Officers on Wednesday.
District officials said they’re getting out of the business of law enforcement so they can focus more on educating students.
For the last three years, the Jackson County School District had their own School Resource Officers.
Now, the district and the Sheriff’s office are coming together once again. 16 deputies will serve as SRO’s for the school district.
“It shows good community sport that we’re working together,” Jackson County Superintendent Steve Benton said.
The partnership will cost the district 1.4 million dollars. However, with an upcoming audit of the district’s law enforcement, Benton said the cost isn’t much more than what they would have had to pay in order to pass the audit.
“We would have probably went to 1.2 million with our force after catching up with what needed to be done,” Benton said.
Both Superintendent Benton and Sheriff Donnie Edenfield said it wasn’t the quality of the district’s law enforcement that brought about this partnership.
With the Sheriff’s office, the district will now have more agencies and resources to keep their students safe should they need them.
“They’ll have certain things at their fingertips,” Edenfield said. “An evidence custodian, an entire investigative division, a narcotics division, a K-9 division, so a number of things and we’re just looking forward to it and I think it’s going to be a great thing no doubt.”
“We had no reserves so if one needed one then they would take from another school,” Benton said.
Edenfield said working together as a community is critical to keeping citizens safe.
“For most parents, their biggest concern when they drop their child off at school is now how smart are they going to be when they pick them up but it’s that their going to pick them up the same way they dropped them off: safe,” Edenfield. “So, that’s our job.”
Benton said the SRO position will also be a 12 month position rather than an 11 month position so the district will save on not hiring extra security during summer school.