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School board gives a final salute to CCDS Police Department

Posted 7/4/24

FLEMING ISLAND — The school board was updated regarding the final steps of the CCDS-CCSO transition on Thursday, June 27, before officially parting ways with the Clay County District Schools …

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School board gives a final salute to CCDS Police Department


Posted

FLEMING ISLAND — The school board was updated regarding the final steps of the CCDS-CCSO transition on Thursday, June 27, before officially parting ways with the Clay County District Schools Police Department on July 1. 

For five years, the school district’s self-created police department served as security from elementary to high schools. Last November, the school board voted 4-1, with Board Member Mary Bolla dissenting, to bring the Clay County Sheriff’s Office back.

CCSO Director Patrick Golemme was tasked with transitioning the school district from CCDS Police to the CCSO. He sent an email to the school board with a progress report on the transition. 

According to his email—which was read aloud by Board Member Beth Clark —42 CCDS police officers applied to CCSO to continue serving as school resource officers. Five withdrew their applications, 10 were disqualified, and 25 were selected to continue serving as school resource officers with CCSO.

Kenneth Wagner, who served as chief of CCDS Police, was selected as a lieutenant on the youth program team.

"This difficult task was completed with very few hiccups, so we've been very fortunate and wanted a smooth transition using as many folks as possible. We weren't trying to do anything different," Golemme wrote.

Bolla thanked the CCDS Police Department for serving the school district for five years. 

"I want to give one last shout-out to all who served with us and who truly kept our children safe and secure," Bolla said. 

When the school board meeting adjourned, several CCDS police officers reflected on their years of service.

"It's my last Board meeting in blue," one CCDS police officer said. 

“It’s been good. I've enjoyed every minute and my next chapter, too,” Wagner said.

While some CCDS police officers admittedly preferred their blue uniforms over the CCSO’s green, it appeared the team is nonetheless looking forward to the first day of the school year, and with the same conviction.

Several CCDS police officers, Wagner included, said they intend to keep their old CCDS police badges as souvenirs in display cases.