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Sheriff's deputies to be present at all Lee County schools

Posted at 11:42 AM, Mar 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-22 06:23:16-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Lee County Sheriff's deputies will be placed at all Lee County schools, effective immediately, the sheriff's office announced Wednesday.

At a joint press conference with Lee County Schools officials, Undersheriff Carmine Marceno announced that effective immediately, they will begin transferring deputies to every campus in the county.

Marceno says the sheriff's office currently has about 60 members of the school resource program, but they will immediately increase the program by 100 members.

"We are accomplishing this by transferring deputies, detectives, and supervisors from their current positions to the schools. As additional deputies are hired, temporary positions will be filled by permanent SRO's," said Marceno.

The sheriff's office will likely ask county commissioners for more funding to help pay for more deputies in the 2019 budget.

"The sheriff's department has always been there for our school district and for our kids," said Superintendent Dr. Gregory Adkins.

Marceno said the plan is to eventually hire and train more deputies as school resource officers to replace some of those temporarily assigned to schools.

Earlier this month - just two weeks after the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland - Governor Rick Scott called for major enhancements to school safety in Florida.

Dr. Adkins said his school district will be holding more lockdown drills.

"School shootings are on the rise, so we're increasing the number of lockdown (drills)," Adkins said. "We're working with law enforcement to make them more realistic."

Some parents in Lee County said they'll feel better knowing that a deputy will be at the schools.

"I would agree with adding more police officers, sas long as they're trained propertly," said parent Allison Snow.

"Anything that increases safety...that's not a bad thing," said Lauren Hable, a mother of four.

A school spokesman told Fox 4 that all Lee County schools should have completed active shooter training by April 1. After that, they will begin conducting active shooter drills once a month.

You can watch the entire press conference below.