Earlier this week, City Manager Roger M. Carlton participated in a Broward County School Board panel to discuss school public safety and funding for the School Resource Officer (SRO) program. Currently, there are three schools within City boundaries served by three SROs.
The County funds approximately 30 percent of the costs for the SROs that are part of the program. Today’s discussion focused on policy development and strategic planning for expansion of the program mandated by SB 7026 which was enacted as a result of the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas events. Mr. Carlton was joined with City Managers from the Cities of Parkland, Weston and Fort Lauderdale. Best practices and program capabilities were shared. Outcomes of this discussion are expected to be used for legislative proposals and budget development to complete the School Board FY 18/19 Budget. The difficulty will be finding funding for placing an SRO in every school countywide.
“There has not been a movement of this magnitude in 50 years,” said City Manager Carlton. City Manager Carlton compares this school security effort to the “summer of love”, which he vividly recalls as a time when students took to the streets to support the need for social change. While everyone involved in the meeting wants to solve the problem, the students and their parents need to keep the pressure on.
In addition to the SRO program, Police Chief Sonia Quinones, along with members of the Investigative Unit of Broward County Public Schools, are piloting a Violent Assault Law Officer Response (VALOR) Program, where detectives perform ongoing operational duties within the school campus. This allows to have greater police presence in the schools and support immediate deployment for any public safety concern. Once the pilot completes, officials are expected to present final recommendations for full program adoption across other cities.