School Officials Agreed to Establish a School Board Police Department in Jackson County

MARIANNA, Fla. - Thursday school officials decided to move forward with establishing a Jackson County School Board Police Department. Jackson county has 15 school schools in the area. Superintendent Larry Moore said this past school year, there were eight officers at schools, leaving seven schools without a school resource officer. 



"Several school districts around the state already have their own police department, a lot of the smaller districts do not," said Moore. 


He said this establishment will help in a few way. 



"It will help us in meeting the requirement of the law, having an officer on every campus, that in itself we realize is not the total answer, but it is a step in the right direction," said Moore. 



School board members said there are a few concerns that may delay the process. 



"The big question mark is if people will be interested, if they are qualified individuals, they have to be a fully certified law enforcement officer in the state of Florida," said Moore. 



Sheriff Roberts said there's a lot of aspects that will go into the development.



"Time is ticking, we've got to be ready for school to start and everything next year,"  said Lou Roberts, Jackson County Sheriff. 



The funds will be coming from the department of education. 



"The legislature identified for Jackson County 545,000 dollars on the safe school money for Jackson County, that's going to help with the existing programs that are in place plus the new officers that are going to be in the schools," said Sheriff Roberts. 


The school board says the next step will be sharing the approval with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and then  searching for a police chief. Sheriff Roberts said there's a lot that needs to happen besides just finding qualified staff members. He said getting equipment, developing policy and procedures, and transportation are all important factors.


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