District approves adding more armed officers in schools - FOX 13 News

District approves adding more armed officers in schools

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

The Hillsborough County school board has passed the first phase of a plan that would place more armed police officers in Hillsborough County elementary schools.

The proposal would use an estimated $4.5 million in the first year to put armed guards at every school in the district. It could cost $20 million over the next four years.

More guards would be phased in over the next four years; that could cost as much as $20 million, according to school board member April Griffin.

Community school officers are already stationed in 19 district elementary schools. Also, a large federal grant will be placing 10 sheriff's deputies in elementary schools this year. Middle and high schools in Hillsborough already have a deputy or officer in place.

Now, 20 additional community school officers will be put in place, and two security specialists would be hired immediately. Then more and more officers would be added over the next three years.

The board voted 4-3 Wednesday to implement the first phase. The next three phases will also have to pass a vote by the board.

The officers would be trained in checking doors and gates on a regular basis, also building positive relationships with students, so they may hear first if there's trouble.

It has been a hot-button issue in Florida, as well as around the country. Some feel it's a great idea, while others think it would not be beneficial.

Many people at today's meeting were elementary school principals who were in favor of having armed officers at the schools.

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