Leesburg city commissioners approved an agreement with the Lake County School Board Monday night to provide two school resource officers for the coming school year.
The city will supply the Leesburg police officers at a cost to the school board of $80,000. They will be on duty at Beverly Shores and Leesburg elementary schools beginning next month and running through the end of the school year in May 2019.
According to the agreement, the officers will interact with students during the regular class schedule and at extra-curricular activities to provide additional security for them, school personnel and school property.
The resource officers will be stationed at the schools for 80 hours per two-week period, Monday through Friday. Additional hours can be added with prior approval of the Leesburg Police Department if requested by the respective principals at the schools. And if a request leads to overtime hours, the school board will reimburse the police department, the agreement reads.
The police department will provide the officers with vehicles and has the ability to temporarily reassign them in emergency situations. And either party can terminate the agreement with a 30-day written notice.
Leesburg Commissioner Bob Bone said he’s thrilled to see city officers handling those duties in the two schools.
“I think it’s important for our kids at school and I think there’s going to be an extra benefit, not just the safety issue, but with having an officer from the community involved in the schools,” he said.
Bone also said he’d like to see the program expanded down the road, especially if an opportunity arises to put an officer at Leesburg High School to replace the one currently provided by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.
“That way they can have that relationship (with students),” he said.