breaking news

Ex-Riviera Beach manager sues city over his firing

City cops will patrol dozens of PBC elementary schools under new deal


Palm Beach County’s public schools this week took a step closer to ensuring an armed officer on every campus by the start of the new school year with help from several city police agencies.

Eleven city police departments have tentatively agreed to provide officers to patrol 47 elementary schools within their city limits when school starts on Aug. 13, school district leaders announced Friday morning.

The officers would be paid overtime rates to patrol the schools seven hours daily and the school district would cover the costs. All told, district officials estimate, the price tag of the patrols could run to about $60 an hour, or $2,100 a week, per school.

RELATED: Is your school covered? New law hands PBC schools $6M for officers

The 11 cities include: Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Jupiter, Lantana, North Palm Beach, Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Palm Springs, Riviera Beach, West Palm Beach.

The agreements still need final approval from the school board and each city’s elected leaders, but school district leaders called the tentative deal a major step toward complying with new school security requirements imposed by state lawmakers after the Parkland school shooting in February.

Under the new state law, all Florida public schools are required to have armed security officers on campus, although they are not required to be certified law enforcement officers.

“Where we need help is with the elementary schools,” said Mike Burke, the school district’s chief financial officer, “and we reached out to the cities to say ‘Would you be willing to cover the elementary schools within your city limits?’”

The deal leaves uncovered roughly 45 other elementary schools. The school district is attempting to negotiate a separate agreement with the county sheriff’s office to cover those schools with off-duty deputies.

If necessary, the district could also deploy its detectives and police supervisors to patrol elementary schools until more full-time officers can be hired.

The district is trying to hire an extra 75 officers to patrol the elementary schools full-time, but leaders say it will likely take more than a year to fill those positions. The off-duty city cops and sheriff’s deputies are expected to fill the void until the school district’s police department completes its expansion.

“As we hire officers we can start plugging our own in,” Superintendent Donald Fennoy said in an interview Friday. “I would guess at least a year and we’ll keep assessing it.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

BREAKING: PBSO says laser 'blinds' helicopter pilots during Lake Worth blackout
BREAKING: PBSO says laser 'blinds' helicopter pilots during Lake Worth blackout

A 33-year-old woman is facing a felony charge for allegedly pointing a green laser at the cockpit of a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office helicopter that was patrolling Lake Worth early Thursday. A PBSO deputy and his co-pilot were surveying Lake Worth during the six-hour, citywide power outage when city resident Jacqueline Robledo...
Ex-Riviera Beach manager sues city over his firing
Ex-Riviera Beach manager sues city over his firing

Fired city manager Jonathan Evans has sued Riviera Beach and three of its council members, alleging they axed him last September, after six months on the job, because he sought to crack down on sexual misconduct by staffers and improper spending by the council. In a suit filed late last month in federal court in West Palm Beach, Evans alleged the city...
What is selfitis? 5 things to know about the obsessive selfie disorder 
What is selfitis? 5 things to know about the obsessive selfie disorder 

The term "selfitis" may have started off as a hoax back in 2014, but now psychologists have warned it's a genuine mental health issue. Researchers form the Nottingham Trent University in the United Kingdom and Thiagarajar School of Management in India actually investigated the social media phenomenon, leading them to create...
NEW: Man stabbed to death at West Palm senior home, medical examiner says
NEW: Man stabbed to death at West Palm senior home, medical examiner says

As rescue crews wheeled a bloodied 65-year-old out of a senior-living home April 2, the man pointed toward an apartment door.   That’s where the person who stabbed him in the face lived, Mathew Stevens told West Palm Beach authorities.  Stevens died from those stab wounds nearly three weeks later. The Palm Beach...
Suit: Jail keeps teens in solitary for months without care, education
Suit: Jail keeps teens in solitary for months without care, education

One young inmate in solitary confinement at the Palm Beach County jail hallucinated, staring at the blank wall of his cell, thinking he was watching a television show, a federal lawsuit filed Thursday alleges. A 16-year-old got his teeth knocked out by deputies after flooding his cell with toilet water when his telephone privileges were cut...
More Stories