Clay County sheriff critical of School Board police force plan

Clay County's sheriff has gone public with criticism of the county School Board's decision to create its own police force.

The Clay County School Board voted last week to create its own department. Wednesday, Sheriff Darryl Daniels posted a lengthy video on YouTube with his thoughts on the board for its the decision to bypass his agency and form its own police department to handle school security. He said the school district would struggle to be able to protect the county's schools by fall, when the next school year begins.

"They were short-sighted and I wish they would've came to us as partners because as partners and stakeholders in the safety and security of our kids, we make far better partners than an outsider," Daniels said.

Daniels said the school district will struggle with hiring and training 40 or more officers, developing infrastructure and a chain of command within six months.

UNCUT: Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels' YouTube video

It's not the first time the sheriff and school leadership have butted heads. Last April, after the state Legislature mandated that school districts provide security at every public school in the state, Daniels expressed frustration with the School Board's unwillingness to fund school security, even saying he was not opposed to arresting anyone who didn't follow new state law to secure schools.

At the time, School Board Chairwoman Carol Studdard appeared stunned when told what the sheriff had said.

"Oh my goodness," Studdard said. "We’re all going to work together. Nobody’s going to be arresting the School Board, I don’t think."

Many larger Florida school districts, including Duval County, have their own police departments.

Superintendent Addison Davis said he was still reviewing Daniels' comments, but posted remarks about school security Monday on Facebook:

As Superintendent of Clay County Schools, I take seriously the obligation to ensure a safe and secure learning...

Posted by Addison Davis Clay County Superintendent of Schools on Monday, February 11, 2019

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