CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – Deputies with the Clay County Sheriff's Office will no longer be investigating crimes that occur on school properties outside of school hours.
The Clay County School Board formed its own police department, which has been a contentious issue. Now that the handoff is official, there are questions about whether the new police force has enough staff to investigate crimes.
A letter released Monday by Sheriff Darryl Daniels reads, in part:
"I will begin the process of routing calls for service at CCSB (Clay County School Board) properties to the school district police."
The letter essentially states that school resource officers will remain on campus during the school day, but after hours policing will be done by the new school board police force. When asked if the new police force is ready to take on its responsibility, Daniels said:
"I don't know, but if a police department did not have the foresight to get their infrastructure in place before ultimately stepping out to say that they're independent and don't want a relationship with the Sheriff's Office, then that's not my responsibility as a sheriff."
When asked if he heard back from the school district after sending a letter Friday, Daniels said he received a text from School Superintendent Addison Davis that read, "Let's talk."
"I don't do text messages," Daniels said. "Addison (Davis), don't text me. Do a formal meeting."
School Board Chair Carol Studdard said Daniels' letter was surprising.
"This one has caught me off guard. I don't know what to think," she said. "We'll be hiring the deputies this summer, but I don't even think they train until July."
A statement from a district spokesperson read:
"The superintendent is still looking over the legality of the sheriff's decision with our school board attorney."
Daniels said the agreement between the Sheriff's Office and the district is for school resource officers to guard schools while they’re in session through September, and that agreement will be honored.