MIDDLEBURG, Fla. – Clay County's sheriff and superintendent of schools shook hands Wednesday after meeting to iron out issues on providing security on school district property before and after school hours.
This became an issue early last week when Sheriff Darryl Daniels said his department would no longer respond to calls on campuses outside of school hours. Instead, all calls for service would be routed to the new School Board Police Department.
The problem is that the district hasn't had a chance to hire officers for the department, which was created by a vote of the School Board in early March. Over the next few weeks, the county received approval from the department the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI to form the department.
Wednesday morning, Daniels met privately with School Superintendent Addison Davis and new School Board Police Chief Kenneth Wagner to form a security plan.
"I know through the community that you may think we are on opposite sides, but openly, we are not," Davis said in a video released on social media of both agencies after the meeting. "We're here because we care about kids. We care about this community. (We're) on the same page to protect every one of our children."
"We spoke about memorandum of understanding, interlocal agreements," Daniels said. "We spoke about different scenarios that could happen on school property that would need the support of the Sheriff's Office and I want to publicly say that we, as the Sheriff's Office, and the sheriff, are committed to protecting our kids, supporting the other stakeholders here and keeping our children safe."
Specific details of an agreement were not released publicly, but both the sheriff and superintendent shook hands.
The school district has an ongoing agreement with the Sheriff's Office to provide school resource officers during school hours through September. When that expires, the school district police would take over full responsibility for school security. This agreement was more about policing school property outside of school hours.
The Orange Park Police Department and Green Cove Springs Police Department have also been working with the school district throughout this process and continue to provide police services, and that will continue. Wednesday's meeting primarily concerned schools in areas of the county served solely by the Sheriff's Office.