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Sheriff pushing for more Caroline school resource officers: ‘Now is the time’

CAROLINE COUNTY, Va. -- Caroline County Sheriff Tony Lippa is pushing to have at least one school resource officer in every school in the county.

This is something, Sheriff Lippa says he’s been fighting for years but his request has been denied because of a lack of funding.

There are five schools in Caroline County; three elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school.

The county needs at least four more resource officers, Sheriff Lippa told CBS 6.

Following a Florida high school shooting that killed 17 students and faculty members, Lippa says now is the time to make the investment.

Sheriff Tony Lippa

He says well trained school resource officers are investments that could be lifesaving.

Sheriff Lippa took to Facebook, calling for parents to go to Tuesday night’s board of supervisors meeting and try to convince county leaders to make necessary funds available.

He says in situations where every second counts, having an officer on campus would greatly improve response time and student safety, but the benefits would go far beyond that.

“What better way to get to know your police than to have them at all levels. So, you have that mutual respect and you can see from both sides, that our kids do not have to be afraid of police officers, they do not have to be afraid of our school resource officers,” Lippa explained.

“Some people might say during the summer time you don’t need school resource officers, but guess what, that’s when they can come out to the road,” Lippa continued. “It is not a loss to the county, that manpower that would have been utilized in the school, can also be used on patrol duties and investigations during the summer months.”

Sheriff Lippa said the county used to have multiple resources officers but cut the number of officers down substantially for financial reasons. However, he says he wants county leaders to see now is the time to make whatever sacrifices it takes to change that.

“Put it under the sheriff’s budget and I will guarantee that I will have the resource officers there,” he said.

Not everyone is in support of using funds to place more resource officers in schools. Some believe having officers in schools incites hostility and violence.

Some say there are other things the county should spend money on. All those opinions will have a chance to be heard Tuesday night at the Board of Supervisors meeting.

The meeting will be held Tuesday at the Caroline Community Service Center beginning at 6 p.m. Open comments will begin at 7:30 p.m. Caroline Community Service Center is located at 17202 Richmond Turnpike in Milford.