Bay County Middle Schools to Welcome SRDs Soon

Bay County Officials have come up with a plan to put a School Resource Officer or Deputy at every local high school and middle school.

Tuesday school board members unanimously passed a "Buy Two, Get One" deal, with the School District paying for two School Resource Deputies and the Sheriff's Office paying for the third.

It's been a priority since last year's Connecticut school shootings.

Four years ago, every bay county middle and high school campus had its own school resource deputy police officer, but the district had to cut some of the middle school's deputies to save money.

Then earlier this year, a safety task force recommended the district rehire them, In response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings last December.

Bay County Sheriff's Office Major Tommy Ford says, "Obviously it's an area of great concern in the society we live in right now due to events that have happened other places and events that have happened here."

Merritt Brown Middle School has been sharing a Resource Deputy with four other middle schools.

Principal Charlotte Marshall says the difference has been significant.

Merritt Brown Middle School Principal Charlotte Marshall says, "When they're full-time, they get to know the students, they get to know the community, and they know the families."

Merritt Brown's current SRD spends about an hour a day on campus, sometimes less

But the "Buy Two, Get One" deal with the Sheriff's Office means 14 full time SRDs and one supervisor.

The plan will cost the school district $114,000 for the two additional deputies, which will come from the general fund.

But parents say you can't put a price on safety.

Wendy Skipper is the parent of 3 students at Merritt Brown Middle School. She says, "There is great comfort that comes from us not only as parents but as students knowing there is going to be a full-time deputy on campus."

Steve Moss proposed the "Buy 2, Get 1" deal during Tuesday's board meeting.

They're also exploring plans for full-time SRDs at elementary schools.


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