Every K-12 Washington County school to get a school resource officer

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - At a special meeting Friday morning, Washington County Commissioners voted to put a school resource officer in every K-12 school in the county.

"We want to send each one of our children home each day healthy, happy, and well-educated and [Friday] the Board took action to just do that," Board Chairman Tray Hawkins said.

There are currently only three schools in Washington County with an SRO: Roulhac Middle School, Chipley High School, and Vernon High School.

That leaves Kate Smith Elementary, Vernon Elementary, and Vernon Middle School without an officer.

"This is emotionally charged with the parents and our faculty at our schools and Vernon and in Chipley, so at the least right now we're going to get some peace of mind," Washington County Sheriff Kevin Crews said.

At a press conference Wednesday, Governor Rick Scott proposed a $500 million plan to address mental health, reform gun laws, and secure schools.

"We'll make significant investments in school safety, metal detectors, bullet-proof glass, steel doors, upgraded locks," Governor Scott said.

That plan also includes putting a school resource officer in every public school.

Some people at Friday's meeting asked what would happen if the governor's plan fell through, leaving the county without the extra money.

"If the funding source comes up short, you can count on the Washington County Commissioners to step up to the plate see the funding's there each and every year for the safety of our students in Washington County," Hawkins said.

Sheriff Crews said three patrol deputies have expressed interest in the SRO positions. Starting Monday morning, every K-12 school in Washington County will have a school resource officer on site.

Governor Scott wants to get his plan approved before the end of the session. If the plan passes, the commissioners would not have to pay for the officers.