When classes resume Aug. 19 in Hillsborough County, Foster Elementary will have a new face patrolling the halls; Community School Officer Rob Jones. For the first time, every elementary school in Hillsborough will have an assigned armed officer.
“I’ll start by making sure all the doors are secure,” Jones said. “A teacher was killed at Sandy Hook securing a door. If it had been locked that wouldn’t have happened.”
Since the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December 2012, more districts have focused on elementary school security. Before that, only high and middle schools had armed officers. Every officer will be assigned a few schools, meaning officers won’t be at each school at all times.
“It doesn’t worry me that I won’t be here all the time,” Jones said. “One of the things I want to establish is be unsystematic and not predictable. That way you never know where I’m going to be I may show up at a different time or I may come to school leave and then come back. You never know.”
Jones is a Community School Officer. There are 22 in Hillsborough County Schools. The Sheriff’s Office and Tampa Police also have law enforcement at certain schools.
If you don’t live in Hillsborough County, 8 on Your Side is making a list of other districts’ security policies.
Pinellas – School Resource Officers, Certified Agents, or School Police at high schools and middle schools – No changes this upcoming school year
Pasco – School Resource Officers in Middle and High Schools – no changes this upcoming school year
Polk – School Resource Officers in Middle and High Schools.