Fort Myers City Council mulls funds for school resource officers

Published: Updated:
Fort Myers City Hall

The Fort Myers City Council is trying to determine how to pay for more resources at every school.

Parent Janet Withrow expressed her concerns with need for more secure schools.

“The only answer is heightened security,” Withrow said. “It’s an unfortunate reality of today’s society.”

Heightened security will cost $850,000 for the City of Fort Myers to place school resource officers in every school this fall.

“This is important. We need to do it,” said Mayor Randy Henderson. “We have the resources to do it.”

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office is currently the only agency putting deputies in all 78 Lee County schools.

“A deputy was splitting time between five elementary schools,” said Rick Parfitt, the director of safety and security at Lee County schools.

Officers from the Cape Coral and Fort Myers police departments will place officers in schools in their respective cities in August. The Sanibel Police Department already provides a school resource officer for the Sanibel school.

“I don’t have kids in the school system but I would be more than happy to pay to protect other peoples kids because all children deserve that right to be able to go in and learn and not worry about getting shot,” Withrow said.

The Fort Myers Police Department will put 14 of its officers in schools despite their current staffing issue.

“I wonder does this mean also that we’re going to have less officers on the beat to be able to be available to catch the silly little crimes that are happening that are part of the quality of life in Fort Myers,” said Fort Myers resident Richard Vega.

Each officer costs $100,000, and it will $8 million for all schools in total. The school district pays for half while the county and cities cover the rest.

“I think we need to put as much resources towards our future which is our children than anything else,” Withrow said.

When asked if the Fort Myers Police Department plans to hire school resource officers or use officers they already have on the force, they responded, “we’re working on a plan.”

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