ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — The Orange County Sheriff's Office is working to make sure they don't have any of the 120 schools in their jurisdiction without a deputy.
- Orange Co. Sheriff's Office aiming to have one deputy in each school daily
- High schools and larger schools will have two deputies
- Sheriff wants to add 16 new relief deputy positions
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Deputies are aiming to have at least one deputy in each of those schools every day. They also want to make sure there's a backup if the regular deputy can't be there.
For high schools and larger schools in the county, they even have two deputies.
"Especially with what happened in Parkland and other places, people want to know there's a law enforcement officer in their school. It makes everyone feel safe," said Orange County Sheriff John Mina.
Mina also wants to add 16 new relief-deputy positions.
"If that deputy has to leave, for a number of reasons, like I said, court or someone is sick, or they're sick, that relief deputy can fill in," Mina said.
In addition to relief deputies, the Sheriff's Office has installed gun safes in all those schools.
Inside those safes are heavy duty bulletproof vests, which can stop AR-15 bullets, and long guns.
"In most cases the deputy is going to run right towards the sound of gunfire, but if there is time for them to grab that long gun, then they'll be able to do so quickly," Mina said.
The safes have biometric fingerprint scanners, so no one but the deputy can access them, according to the Sheriff's Office.
The agency is asking for 50 other sworn deputy positions in the budget to keep up with Orange County's growth. Although currently, the county is short 150 deputies.
Mina said that's a small chunk of their 1,600 deputy positions, and it doesn't affect day-to-day operations.
"We have a very large organization, and we're able to shift resources around where needed," Mina said.
Mina said they are prioritizing their school resource deputies, not just because of how they can respond to an active shooter, but also because of all the good they can do for a school.
"They're also there to provide mentoring, to be a role model to our students. They have interactions. One of the most important parts of their job is to make sure there's no bullying going on," Mina said.
He said that the county commission seemed supportive of adding those positions to the budget.
The final budget will approved after two public hearings on September 5 and 9.