Haines City police, FHP joining forces to secure schools

HAINES CITY, Fla. - (WFLA) - It will take more than $5 million to put school resource officers at every school in Polk County. Haines City police and the Florida Highway Patrol aren't waiting for that funding to secure schools.

“My priority right now is to get us through the next two and a half months without any child or student or staff getting hurt,” Haines City Police Chief Jim Elensky told News Channel 8.

His department is joining forces with FHP to make sure all eight schools in Haines City are covered with law enforcement presence.

“In between calls there's going to be somebody at each school without question. They're going to be walking the [hallways] and they're going to be patrolling the perimeters,” Chief Elensky said.  

Even schools without a resource officer will now have a uniformed FHP or Haines City officer on patrol.

“I think it's a good thing to have police on campus so that they're right there if something, you know, happens, they can get there quick,” parent Tamia Mclendon told WFLA.

“I support having a school resource officer at every school but somebody needs to come up with that funding,” said Chief Elensky.

He said his plan is temporary and he hoped the district would get funding for a more permanent solution.

It's an issue Polk County School Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd is urging lawmakers to address.

“I am [imploring] our governor and elected officials to provide adequate funding for at least one school resource officer on every campus,” Byrd said in a recorded video message.

Chief Elensky said they are in the process of coming up with solutions for next school year.

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