Mt. Dora police chief wants officers, not deputies, in schools

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LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - Across Lake County, the Sheriff's Office provides security at all of the middle and high school, but some believe it's possible to go one better. 

Mount Dora Police Chief John O'Grady wants his officers in the city schools.  He said those cops would know the students, know their parents and be in the neighborhoods after class.

"Right now, the deputies on campus do a phenomenal job, but that's it," said O'Grady. "Mount Dora Middle School is 30 seconds from this office right here.  If anything happens there, I'll know about it."

On April 13, 2012, Mount Dora police responded after a threatening note was found stuffed in a student's textbook. 

"I'm actually not in favor of it," said school board member Bill Mathias.

Mathias said he prefers the umbrella of security the sheriff provides across the entire county, consistent from school to school.  There's also a funding issue.  The district pays around $34,000 per deputy, which comes out to more than $1 million a year.

O'Grady would want the same deal, but he's also applying for a federal grant to cover equipment. 

The bottom line for Mathias is safety.  

"If we had multiple attacks at multiple schools, I am confident that our sheriff as the center command would be able to take care of it," said Mathias.