Sheriff Ken Mascara and St. Lucie Public Schools Superintendent E. Wayne Gent announced Tuesday morning that deputies will now be placed at all St. Lucie County public elementary schools.
They spoke at Floresta Elementary at 8:15 a.m. on new measures to keep St. Lucie County students safe.
Mascara said starting Monday they embedded one school resource deputy at each elementary school across the county.
Prior to Monday’s change, the agency had 27 school resource deputies assigned to public K-8, middle and high schools. Now, they have 38 deputies make up this unit, including elementary schools.
"I think we can all agree immediate solutions are not coming from Washington or Tallahassee, but this was an immediate solution that we need to address, and we did," said Mascara.
This comes after school and law enforcement leaders in the county met to review safety procedures late last month.
Gent said he was very appreciative of the new deputies for the support in improved school safety.
Mascara said previously they did not have deputies at elementary schools because of a lack of funding, but felt it was an immediate and necessary need.
"Having the ability to have a first line of defense, to possibly prevent or deter something like that, that type of violence, it makes me feel good knowing I can help out and be a part of that," said St. Lucie County sheriff's deputy John Verna.
The superintendent says all parents will receive a phone call about the deputy that will now patrol their child’s school.
Mascara said the change will be in place for the remainder of the current school year.
“We are hopeful that the work being done in Tallahassee right now will allow us to make this a permanent solution and encourage our legislators to provide the funding needed to do so,” Mascara said.