State law authorizes the placement of local law enforcement or security personnel and establishes clear guidelines and safeguards regarding the appropriate role of officers on school campuses.
Florida Statutes 1006.12 Safe-school officers at each public school.
For the protection and safety of school personnel, property, students, and visitors, each district school board and school district superintendent shall partner with law enforcement agencies or security agencies to establish or assign one or more safe-school officers at each school facility within the district, including charter schools. A district school board must collaborate with charter school governing boards to facilitate charter school access to all safe-school officer options available under this section. The school district may implement any combination of the options in subsections (1)-(4) to best meet the needs of the school district and charter schools.
(1) School resource officer. — A school district may establish school resource officer programs through a cooperative agreement with law enforcement agencies.
(a) School resource officers shall undergo criminal background checks, drug testing, and a psychological evaluation and be certified law enforcement officers, as defined in s. 943.10(1), who are employed by a law enforcement agency as defined in s. 943.10(4). The powers and duties of a law enforcement officer shall continue throughout the employee’s tenure as a school resource officer.
(b) School resource officers shall abide by district school board policies and shall consult with and coordinate activities through the school principal, but shall be responsible to the law enforcement agency in all matters relating to employment, subject to agreements between a district school board and a law enforcement agency. Activities conducted by the school resource officer which are part of the regular instructional program of the school shall be under the direction of the school principal.
(c) Complete mental health crisis intervention training using a curriculum developed by a national organization with expertise in mental health crisis intervention. The training shall improve officers’ knowledge and skills as first responders to incidents involving students with emotional disturbance or mental illness, including de-escalation skills to ensure student and officer safety.
(2) School safety officer. — A school district may commission one or more school safety officers for the protection and safety of school personnel, property, and students within the school district. The district school superintendent may recommend, and the district school board may appoint, one or more school safety officers.
(a) School safety officers shall undergo criminal background checks, drug testing, and a psychological evaluation and be law enforcement officers, as defined in s. 943.10(1), certified under the provisions of chapter 943 and employed by either a law enforcement agency or by the district school board. If the officer is employed by the district school board, the district school board is the employing agency for purposes of chapter 943, and must comply with the provisions of that chapter.
(b) A school safety officer has and shall exercise the power to make arrests for violations of law on district school board property and to arrest persons, whether on or off such property, who violate any law on such property under the same conditions that deputy sheriffs are authorized to make arrests. A school safety officer has the authority to carry weapons when performing his or her official duties.
(c) A district school board may enter into mutual aid agreements with one or more law enforcement agencies as provided in chapter 23. A school safety officer’s salary may be paid jointly by the district school board and the law enforcement agency, as mutually agreed to.
Florida Statutes 1006.13. Policy of zero tolerance for crime and victimization.
(4)(a) Each district school board shall enter into agreements with the county sheriff’s office and local police department specifying guidelines for ensuring that acts that pose a threat to school safety, whether committed by a student or adult, are reported to a law enforcement agency.
(b) The agreements must include the role of school resource officers, if applicable, in handling reported incidents and a procedure requiring school personnel to consult with school resource officers concerning appropriate delinquent acts and crimes.
(c) The school principal shall notify all school personnel as to their responsibilities regarding incident reporting, that acts which pose a threat to school safety and crimes are properly reported to the school principal, or his or her designee, and that the disposition of the incident is properly documented.