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Former West Palm Beach police chief may lead Palm Beach County school district police department

Sarah Mooney served as West Palm Beach police chief from February 2017 until June 2019
Former West Palm Beach Police Chief Sarah Mooney speaks to WPTV in Feb. 2017.jpg
Posted at 4:53 PM, Apr 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-18 20:27:49-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The former West Palm Beach police chief is slated to become the new leader of the School District of Palm Beach County's police department.

According to district documents, school board members on Wednesday will vote on whether to hire Sarah Mooney as the school district's police chief.

Mooney was the chief of the West Palm Beach Police Department from Feb. 2017 until June 2019, when she was reassigned to a new position as chief of police for emergency management.

District documents show that, if approved by school board members, Mooney would start working for the school district on May 4, pending the completion of a background check and physical.

Mooney would be the district's fourth police chief in roughly a year.

WPTV-CHIEF-SARAH-MOONEY.jpg

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According to Mooney's resume, she started with the West Palm Beach Police Department in May of 1995 as a patrol officer, and worked her way up the ranks to sergeant, lieutenant, captain, and eventually police chief.

Patrick McCutcheon is currently serving as the chief of the school district's police department on an interim basis following the resignation of former chief Dan Alexander back in January.

If Mooney is approved by school board members, one of her biggest tasks will be increasing manpower in the police department, which currently has dozens of vacancies due to officers retiring, resigning, or moving to other agencies for higher pay.

A Palm Beach County school police officer walks the halls of a school during the 2021-22 academic year.jpg
A Palm Beach County school police officer walks the halls of a school during the 2021-22 academic year.

The School District of Palm Beach County currently has contracts with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, as well as police agencies in West Palm Beach, Jupiter, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Boca Raton, and Palm Beach Gardens to provide law enforcement resources to school campuses.

Superintendent Mike Burke said at a school board meeting in March those seven agencies are providing a total of 32 law enforcement officers to the school district.