By GREG GILES
Thirty one new School Resource Officers of the Sarasota County Schools Police Department were sworn in just days before the first day of school on Monday.
A ceremony was held at Suncoast Technical College Friday morning.
Chief Tim Enos delivered the oath of office.
With these new officers, he said, the department is now fully staffed at roughly 83.
Most of the new officers are former high ranking police officers, including a former police chief, with years of experience in law enforcement, Enos said.
“You also have to have the right experience. And you have to have the right mindset to be able to come back and work kids. These officers all know they have to have the drive in them … they want to protect kids,” Enos said.
“Today’s ceremony only solidifies the value of the school district’s police department in our community,” Sarasota County Schools Superintendent Todd Bowden said in a news release. “I was humbled to see the reception that all our SCSPD Officers received from their fellow law enforcement colleagues, district team members and other guests. Our officers represent the core of our district’s mission — to enable our students to learn, grow and return home safely every day. I want to thank both our existing and new officers, as well as all their families, for accepting this huge responsibility.”
A promotion ceremony was also held to recognize new Lieutenants and Sergeants within the department.
This is the first full year of the school police department’s existence. It was formed in response to school shootings, in particular the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, in which a gunman opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle, killing 17 students and staff members and injuring 17 others.
On February 14, 2018, a gunman opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing seventeen students and staff members and injuring seventeen others.
Sarasota County Schools decided to create its own police force, and like every other school district in the state, had been scrambling to find police officers to comply with a new law that requires an officer in every school.