MIAMI (CBS4) – The debate over getting police officers in every Broward County School heated up at a meeting of state lawmakers Tuesday afternoon.
At issue is how to pay for getting school resource officers at every location.
Right now there are SRO’s at middle and high schools in Broward County. But there are only a few at elementary schools.
State Senator Eleanor Sobel, a democrat from Hollywood is proposing a new property tax that would pay for police at all public schools.
“It’s a flexible model. The public will decide if it’s a priority and the public will vote on the issue,” said Sobel.
The Broward legislative delegation voted 8-4 Tuesday afternoon to have it drafted in bill form.
It it’s approved this legislative session, it would be put to a referendum vote in Broward County next year.
Safety has become a top priority since last December’s school massacre in Connecticut in which 26 people were killed, including 20 young children.
Broward School Superintendent Robert Runcie told the delegation that “our number one challenge is safety and we need solutions now,” referring to the fact that they can’t wait until 2014 to decide on improved security measures. Runcie said they have implemented some additional safety measures since the Connecticut school tragedy and they continue to work on additional safety features.
But not everyone is in favor of more SRO’s. Alana Greer of the Advancement Project said putting police officers in elementary schools will mean “more student arrests for minor misbehavior.”
The Broward Teachers Union though said it supports additional officers in schools.
“It’s all about protecting our students and teachers. All our people,” said BTU’s Sharon Glickman.