Collier and Charlotte counties are facing a similar issue when it comes to hiring additional resource officers — the applications are scarce.
Gov. Rick Scott’s new legislation requires both counties to add more officers in schools after a Valentine’s Day shooting left 17 students and faculty dead at a Parkland high school.
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“I just think it’s different now in law enforcement. Over time it’s just become much more complicated, just with all these types of school violence situations and active shooters no matter where you go,” Collier County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Brian Brennan said.
Both counties already required one resource officer to be present at each school.
“There’s additional training that needs to be done to be a school resource officer so generally those positions are filled from current employees,” Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Katie Heck said.
Many other industries are also hiring in Southwest Florida at this time, making it difficult for the law enforcement field to find candidates.
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“It’s certainly not something that there’s a panic over right now, but it’s something that we want to keep up recruitment,” Heck said.
The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office said they’re starting to get more creative on how they recruit. One idea is to reach out to students visiting Southwest Florida on vacation.
While there are positions to be filled, both sheriff’s offices said the public’s safety is not at risk.