ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - There are just a few days left before the school bells ring in Orange County, but the mayor is wondering if the safety plan for schools is adequate.
"I did expect that when the school year started next week, that there would be a deputy assigned full-time from the moment class starts until the day ends,” said Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs.
Jacobs sent a memo Friday to Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings, with the subject line, “Additonal funding to ensure dedicated law enforcement on all campuses.”
"I wanted there to be no question whatsoever that Orange County committed to funding public safety in our schools," Jacobs said. “When I saw that there were not going to be deputies in all of our elementary schools all day long in the unincorporated areas in particular, I was concerned.”
During a news conference, Demings outlined his plan for placing school resource officers in the more-than 100 Orange County schools in his jurisdiction. That includes temporarily placing 38 additional deputies on the school resource officer unit to cover schools.
"A total of 105 deputies will be assigned to the schools in unincorporated Orange County on a daily basis to ensure that our children are provided a safe environment," said Demings.
But it's still not clear whether each school will have a dedicated officer for the entire day, or if some will be shared.
Regardless, the sheriff said the department needs to hire more deputies to fill spots.
"In the coming year, we will continue to hire and add additional deputy sheriffs to offset the tremendous overtime costs that we will be incurring to make sure our schools are safe,” said Demings.
Jacob’s said if it’s a funding issue, commissioners will make it work for this year’s budget.
Demings said there is no question the district will be as safe as it’s ever been for the start of the school year.
The mayor said there has been no reply to her offer.
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