Clay County Sheriff’s Office taking over school security

CLAY COUNTY, Fla — Clay County school board members voted to place the school district police in the hands of the sheriff’s office.

After nearly two and-a-half hours the Clay County school board voted 4-to-1 in favor of having the Clay County Sheriff’s Office oversee school resource officers.

The only school board member against the change was Mary Bolla.

“School policing is different than community policing,” Bolla said.

She also said there would be costs with the transition process, including changing the equipment and personnel uniforms.

On the other hand, board member Beth Clark is happy with CCSO taking charge. She says they will have better resources and they will handle all the internal investigations.


“We don’t want any accusations,” Clark said. “So, it’s always best that you have an external police force that works with the school district.”

Nearly 30 people took to the podium at Fleming Island High School where the school board meeting was held.

Many were in support of the proposal.

One woman during public commen said, “I believe that the sheriff’s department has a finger on the pulse of what’s happening in our entire community and may be able to address those problems better.”

The district created its own district police in 2019 – following the deadly mass shooting in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland Florida.

Those supporting it said they were concerned with the district police not reporting certain issues properly.

Another woman during public comment said, “The problem is lack of accountability.”

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“It’s just not just protecting them against a school shooting, its sexual assault, harassment, bullying,” another person said during public comment.

But some were against it, saying they want to keep the district police as its own entity.

“You’ve already ripped the Band-Aid off and created it,” one man said during public comment.

Another man during public comment said, “If it works, don’t fix it.”

A current school resource officer is also asking for more funds to enhance the department.

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“It’s turned out to be an us versus them, and I don’t like it, I don’t like it at all,” the resource officer said during public comment.

The proposed change won’t take effect until the next fiscal year in July.

The superintendent will need to discuss the budget and contract negotiations with CCSO.

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