LCSO increasing officer presence ahead of school year
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Being visible and building a rapport with students is the goal for the Leon County Sheriff’s Office as they plan to station deputies at all high schools, middle schools and four elementary schools for the ‘22-23 school year.
Paul Emmons, a Leon County sheriff’s deputy who was appointed president of the Florida Association of School Resource Officers, said he wants to be “the leading organization in the state for school resource officers.”
“Our main goal is being out and being seen and making the kids feel at ease and making the parents feel at ease as well,” Emmons said.
Emmons said they’re taking a “if you hear something, say something” approach.
“The last thing we want is for something to happen and someone didn’t come forward,” Emmons said. “We try to hit it off at the pass beforehand.”
Emmons said their main goal going into the school year “de-escalation.”
“If we can help someone that’s having an episode, or a mental episode we want to be able to de-escalate a situation and go from there,” Emmon said. “But if we have to make an arrest then that’s what we’re going to do.”
Bobby Green, captain of youth and young adult services for the sheriff’s office, said their officers will be required to be on campus 30 minutes prior to the school bell.
“They’re doing their safety checks, walks around campus 10 minutes prior to school and talk with the administration about the prior day,” Green said.
If problems do arise Emmons said their team with work with the evaluation team and administration at the schools about the best course of action.
“They’ll come to us and we’ll talk about it if it’s something legal, or borderline we’ll have a conversation with the parents as well as the students to talk about the meaning of what was said and try to figure it out,” Emmons said.
The rest of the elementary schools are covered by a guardian ship program run through the school board.
Emmons said the goal is to treat everybody equal, and build a rapport with the students throughout the year “but if we have to make an arrest then that’s what we’re going to do.”
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