"Stop-gap" Measure to protect Tallahassee schools

Scott Maddox
Posted at 6:44 PM, Jan 09, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-09 18:22:30-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla (WTXL)— Starting Thursday, Tallahassee Police officers will be assigned to patrol the county’s 19 elementary schools.

The “stop-gap” measure was approved Wednesday by Tallahassee City Commissioners.

Twenty three Leon County Sheriff’s deputies are assigned to middle and high schools in the county, but no law enforcement officers have been assigned to elementary schools, until now.

Commissioner Scott Maddox first proposed the measure last month just after the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Maddox says having officers at the elementary schools as a way he says to protect children.

“It is my hope that the Tallahassee Police Department can provide directed patrol to the elementary schools within the city,” Maddox said in a release issued in December. “Directed patrol would consist of police officers regularly checking schools, and interacting with students, teachers, administrators and parents. It is my belief that a concerted effort such as the directed patrols will result in safer schools, and provide reassurance to parents in Tallahassee.”

Police chief Dennis Jones from the Tallahassee Police Department say his officers will begin going to elementary schools Thursday. Jones says, "The officer will take some time on their regular patrols. They will stop at schools get out of their patrol cars introduce themselves to principals, teachers and parents and interact with kids and let them know we are here for them."    

Beth Overholt has a daughter that attends J Michael Conley Elementary School at Southwood. She says, "Any added police presence will be wonderful to have an officer they can talk to."