Orange County commissioners approve sheriff's request for 75 new school deputies


On Tuesday, Orange County commissioners approved a request by Sheriff Jerry Demings to hire 75 new deputies for schools in unincorporated areas of the county, following a week of back-and-forth bickering over the funds between Demings and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs.

The approval comes just one week prior to primary Election Day. Both Demings, who's running for Orange County mayor, and Jacobs, who's running for Orange County School Board chairwoman, will be on the ballot.

According to a memo Demings submitted on Monday, the new school resource officers will cost $11.2 million, which will then be divided among the county, School Board and state.

Under a new state law – which was approved in the wake of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 dead and 17 more injured – one full-time deputy is guaranteed in every one of the 117 campuses in Demings' jurisdiction. Orange school district, however, has opted out of the section of the law that allows some school personnel to carry firearms on campus or hire additional non-law-enforcement employees for the job, instead deciding to staff schools with officers through contracts with law enforcement and to use the district's in-house police force.

The timeline on when the new deputies will be trained and ready for their school posts remains unclear, according to a report from the Sentinel.

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