PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Starting next week, Palm Beach County deputies could begin patrolling public school campuses to cover a shortage of school district police officers.
The Palm Beach County School Board is scheduled to vote at its March 23 meeting on a contract with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office to allow deputies to cover and patrol school campuses "for the protection and safety of school personnel, property and students within the school district."
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The Palm Beach County School District Police Department currently has more than 60 vacant positions.
If the contract between the school board and sheriff's office is approved, deputies will be provided to schools on an as-needed basis until May 26, 2023.
The school district would allocate $100 per hour for deputies and $136 per hour for sergeants. A school district spokesperson said that money would go toward more than just hourly wages. It would also pay for costs associated with the job including vehicles and equipment.
According to school district documents, the utilization of Palm Beach County deputies will cost the district around $1 million out of the school police department's operating budget.
School district police officers can earn anywhere between $27.23 and $46.54 per hour, according to the school district's website.
A sheriff's office spokesperson told WPTV in February that PBSO will provide roughly 20 deputies to cover 20 schools while the School District of Palm Beach County grapples with a shortage of police officers.
There are more than 170 public schools in the district. The remaining campuses will continue to be covered by school district police officers.
In the wake of the devastating mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland in 2018, all public school campuses in Florida are now required to be manned by at least one law enforcement officer.
If you're interested in becoming a police officer in the School District of Palm Beach County, click here to fill out an application.