Sarasota County Schools News

A Statement from Dr. Todd Bowden, Superintendent of Sarasota County Schools, on Local Law Enforcement Collaboration for Back-to-School

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"I am pleased to announce that the Sarasota County School District will continue its partnership with local law enforcement for the 2018-19 school year to not only include School Resource Officers (SRO’s) for our middle and high schools, but serve our elementary schools on an interim basis as we look to establish our school-based police department over time. Their continued collaboration provides us the time needed to appropriately hire and train a strong group of men and women to lead the safety and security of our schools. We recognize many of our law enforcement partners are short-staffed and it is our goal to ease their burden as quickly and effectively as possible as school-based officers are brought on board to round out the Sarasota County Schools Police Department. We are thankful for their continued support and dedication to keeping our students, staff and community safe and appreciate their service.”

Earlier today, the superintendent along with School Board Chairwoman, Bridget Ziegler, and Michael Andreas, executive director of Public Safety, met with the following community leaders and local law enforcement partners who offered their support and guidance after a discussion on the long-term goals and needs of the school-based police force:

  • Deputy Sarasota City Manager, Marlon Brown
  • Sarasota City Commissioner, Shelli Freeland-Eddie
  • Sarasota Police Chief, Bernadette DiPino
  • Sarasota County Sheriff, Tom Knight
  • Sarasota County Economic Development Director, Jeff Maultsby
  • Interim North Port Police Chief, Chris Morales
  • North Port City Manager, Peter Lear

The Venice Police Department and Venice City Commissioner had previous commitments and were not able to attend today’s session.

As the meeting concluded, Dr. Bowden pledged to reach out to partners later today to arrange additional meetings to further plan the beginning of the school year, and begin the process of finalizing budgets and agreements with municipal partners. The Sarasota County School District will continue its search for a Chief of Police, Police Sergeants and SRO’s as quickly and efficiently as possible to oversee the well-being of students and staff at the district’s 42 public schools over the next two years.

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