Bay District Schools closer to getting officers in elementary schools

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Bay District School leaders are one step closer to getting a permanent police office in every elementary school in the district.

It's longtime goal of Superintendent Bill Husfelt and part of one of the major points of his reelection campaign. The initiative also has the support of the school board and the head of the district's Safety and Security team, Mike Jones.

Husfelt said they will start out by hiring just a handful of officers to rotate schools before gradually adding more officers. Part of the contracts they looked at Tuesday also included some adjustments to pre-existing positions that would allow for oversight of this fleet.

Under the proposed contract for the police officers, they would only work 10 months out of the year. They can be entry-level officers or, Husfelt said, older, retired officers who may have children or grandchildren in the system.

"So many of those kids they have so much violence around them specially in these Title I schools and the areas they live they'll have shootings and things go bad and we just want them to feel safe at school," Husfelt said.

As far as funding goes, district leaders say they don't yet have a pay scale developed. They're hoping for more state funding for safety measures like these within the next fiscal year. Husfelt said he feels like they will get that from the governor, but they are worried about what the legislature may do to the governor's proposed budget for education measures.

Husfelt said, money aside, this is something they know they have to do. The board unanimously approved advertising these contracts and so they'll be back before the board again, at which time, if approved, they will go into greater detail in the plan.

Husfelt said schools wouldn't see an officer in the halls until the start of next year.