The Palm Beach County School District is in the process of adding more officers
6:26 PM, Sep 5, 2013
6:36 AM, Sep 6, 2013
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Palm Beach County School District is in the process of hiring 24 new police officers to keep the district's students and staff safe.
"We'll be seeing students at a level we haven't before in a lot of the elementary schools. We haven't been with them in a long time," District Police Chief Lawrence Leon said.
Chief Leon says 17 officers have been hired so far.
The district committed over one million dollars to funding the new positions.
"Every elementary school won't have an officer, but there will be one for every three schools. That is what we're looking at right now. And when we have the opportunity to evolve even more, we will bring that number down," Chief Leon said.
Parents say they feel safer knowing the officers are at the schools.
"I see the officers walking around and talking with the students and building those relationships," parent Tara Mears said.
The Chief says all of the district's middle and high schools already have a police officer, so the need right now is at the elementary level.
"We want to build the relationships with students in elementary school. We have always been ahead of the curve," Chief Leon said.
The Chief points out that even though some schools might only be assigned one officer, there are other officers in the area and they have partnerships with local police departments.
He hopes to have the remaining officers hired as quickly as possible.
Once they are onboard, the total number of police officers in the district will be 165.
Palm Beach County School District has 178,000 students and 22,000 employees.