Armed officers will patrol Hillsborough elementary schools - FOX 13 News

Armed officers will patrol Hillsborough elementary schools

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

On the day students returned to Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut the Hillsborough County school district and local law enforcement agencies announced a big change for local elementary schools in light of that tragedy.

"We're going to place deputies in 91 of the schools in unincorporated Hillsborough County," said Lt. Chad Chronister of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

Students at the 142 Hillsborough County Elementary schools will see an increased police presence throughout the rest of the school year.

Officers will be at schools when the day starts. When it ends, however, they will not be in the schools throughout the day, but will try to patrol near schools when they can.

Before this decision, there were no armed security at most elementary schools in the district.

School officials say this has been in the works since 20 school children and six adults were killed by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary school.

The district currently spends about $4 million on armed security at Hillsborough middle and high schools.

The cost for extra security at local elementary schools will be left to the Tampa Police Department and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

The sheriff's office says the overtime costs to provide the security will be expensive.

"It's going to be just under $2 million, but our sheriff took a hard stance and his position is the value on a child's safety is priceless," said Lt. Chronister.

Meanwhile back at the schools the district says they aren't worried about the young children being surrounded by armed officers.

"The week before winter break we had security, enhanced security in our elementary schools. It went over very well," said Hillsborough County School Spokesman Steve Hegarty. "They are a welcome presence, they're a friendly face, they also happen to be sworn officers who carry a gun."

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