CRESTVIEW — Whether all Okaloosa County elementary schools should have school resource officers is a matter between the school board and sheriff, County Commissioner Nathan Boyles said.
Since Sheriff Larry Ashley ordered 26 sheriff’s deputies be shifted from regular duties to elementary schools following the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, residents have been vocal about how to deal with gun violence.
Thursday, during a Friends of the Library meeting, Harry Tipton of Crestview said he thought the matter was being blown out of proportion.
"A lot of this is overkill and hype because of the excessive publicity," he said. "We don't really need a resource officer at every school."
Boyles, the library’s guest speaker, said the issue rests between the school board and sheriff. Commissioners decide on the sheriff's office budget and Ashley decides on the best uses for that budget, he said.
Still, Boyles said, he favors the decision to have an officer in elementary schools.
"I went to Baker School and I remember both of the resource officers that we had in a positive way," he said. "I think it's a way to expose our children to the positive side of the law."
Boyles stated that he supports the Second Amendment and that he and his wife have gun permits.
RESTORE Act funds
The county commission will establish an advisory committee to help decide how to spend BP’s RESTORE Act fund from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Individuals with expertise in education, environment and the economy would comprise the committee, which is subject to Florida open meetings laws.
"This (committee) would make recommendations to the board of county commissioners with regard of the expenditure of those funds," Boyles said.
County commissioners would have final say on how the funds would be spent, he said.
Friends of the Library members said they gained insight on Okaloosa County current events after Thursday’s meeting.
Several were impressed with what Boyles had to say.
"I think he is an very bright young man, very sharp," Tipton said.
Ruby Frabott of Crestview agreed.
"That was the first time I have heard him speak; I'm very impressed with the young man," Frabott said.
"It went well," Boyles said. "I got to speak with some of my constituents. They certainly had plenty of questions to ask."
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Matthew Brown at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbMatthew.