Okaloosa commissioners skeptical of school officers funding (DOCUMENT)

Published: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 14:57 PM.

Commissioner Nathan Boyles agreed with Harris. He said the school district is an independent taxing authority and should pay for the deputies in schools if it deems that is a priority.

“They should be funding that program, no different than they fund school lunches or that they fund school buses or any of the programs associated with educating our children,” Boyles said.

Ashley told commissioners he is committed to the school resource officer program with or without additional funding, and will make major cuts to fund it.

He said the program is “more than just an armed response to an attack.” It helps children see law officers as friends and deters crime at schools, he added.  

“I can’t measure the crime prevention, but I can tell you it’s there,” Ashley told commissioners.

Among the Sheriff’s Office services that could be reduced or eliminated are traffic enforcement, marine enforcement, specialized street crime units, employee fingerprinting, funeral escorts and walk-in civil process and records services.

Ashley’s total budget request for next year is $32.8 million.

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