Cape Coral puts officers in schools
CAPE CORAL, Fla. - Southwest Florida's largest city is taking steps to protect your kids on the one month anniversary of the school shooting in Connecticut.
The Cape Coral City Council voting unanimously to beef up security in the Cape's four charter schools.
There will now be a school resource officer roaming the halls at Cape Coral's charter schools.
"We're talking about trying to protect the children in our community," said Cape Coral Mayor John Sullivan. "I don't think that we can really do enough to do that."
Sullivan and the rest of the city council unanimously approving the decision much sooner than expected using the council's new ability this year to vote immediately at meetings.
"It truly is something that is necessary," said Councilman Kevin McGrail, recognizing schools' changing needs.
"We have 3,000 students in the Cape Coral charter school system," he said. "Obviously a sworn officer to protect our citizens is a very small investment from our standpoint."
It's a roughly $40,000 investment the rest of this school year that is shared by reallocated funds from the police department and the charter school system.
"What we're very interested in is how we're going to move it forward for a 3-year-financing so we know its there, its budgeted, it will never go away," said McGrail.
Next school year the number of officers could increase, one at each school.
But for now, one officer will split time between the Oasis Campus and Christa McAuliffe Elementary.
"The important thing that they do is establish relationships with the students and their parents and help with day-to-day conflicts that also occur," said administrator for the charter Schools, Dr. Lee Bush.
"If you're trying to protect something you don't wait until after the incident happens," added Mayor Sullivan.
After the decision was made, Sullivan also brought up armed teachers in the schools.
Council members and school officials weighed in saying right now guns aren't allowed on campus for the public.
They also said, should that be a real possibility in the future, it can be discussed then. For now, one step at a time, starting with the new resource officers in the halls in Cape Coral.