At Tuesday night’s Osceola County School Board meeting, board members approved agreements with the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, Kissimmee Police Department, and St. Cloud Police Department to continue providing school resource officers to 51 district school campuses with a budget of approximately $3.3 million.
In addition to the agreement with the local law enforcement agencies, the board approved new safety guidelines for the SROs within a non-binding resolution recommending each Student Resource Officer wear a body camera and be required to receive at least 40 hours of training. It is also recommended that SRO’s issue civil citations instead of making arrests for non-violent criminal incidents.
The vote came after an Osceola County deputy forcefully brought a 16-year-old girl to the ground at Liberty High School in Kissimmee in January. A task force was formed that discussed the incident and made recommendations to the school board. The task force, formed by board member Julius Mendez and chaired by Steve Montero – aka Trooper Steve, submitted a 43-page report with recommendations to the board, a number of which were part of the resolution favorably voted on.
“I think any time you can add an actual security personnel or an extra set of eyes on the school, it’s great,” Osceola County Sheriff Marco Lopez said. “We don’t have a plan on replacing our school resource officers from any school, even for the elementary schools.”