MOUNT DORA, Fla. - When Mount Dora students returned to class Monday, they were greeted by police officers.
The police department took over control of security from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office to form better relationships with the children, Chief Jon O’Grady told Channel 9’s Myrt Price.
O’Grady said the switch was necessary with deputies working on it out on the streets and efforts now extended inside the school.
The new school resource officer will make a difference in the school and also in the community, O’Grady said.
"We'll know the kids coming and going, we'll know their parents and any little things going on in the community,” O’Grady said.
The chief hopes by having a presence at the schools will help cut juvenile crime.
In the past year, 58 juveniles were arrested. One of the biggest problems is burglary, and most of these crimes are carried out by teens.
From August 2013 until now, there have been 185 burglaries.
"We will be able to solve a lot more of those crimes," O’Grady said.
And they're hoping students will tip them off about anything going on at school.
In December 2012, a student was arrested for packing a BB gun and box cutter, and someone wrote a message on the sidewalk near the gym that said "12-21-12 Kill Day."
Business owner Kim Pinson is encouraged after seeing cops trying to establish bonds with more kids and she thinks it will make the community safer.
"Where they probably wouldn't have gone to police before now they probably will," Pinson said.
This is a one year pilot program and the department and district will re-evaulate it next year. Half of the money for the resource officer is coming from a grant; the other $28,000 is coming from the city.
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